READY TO CONTEST: Mayor Patricia de Lille

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says the city will challenge the “unconstitutional and apartheid-style” White Paper on Policing in court to retain the metro police service.

De Lille says if the national policing policy abolishes metro law enforcement structures, the City of Cape Town will take the matter to the Constitutional Court.

The mayor says input from both local and provincial government has been ignored during the public participation process of the paper.

De Lille says plans to absorb the metro policing structures into a centralised SAPS will hamper crime fighting efforts, which are already strained under a poorly-resourced national police service.

She says the White Paper also ignores important factors like the role of neighbourhood watches, and the need for special cop units.

“We know that, despite the fact that neighbourhood watch structures have until now not been provided for in any national or provincial law, these structures exist and are driven by the needs of thousands of people who want to contribute to the safety of their communities,” said De Lille.

If implemented, the policy will centralise SAPS, making metro police chiefs accountable to the national commissioner and not municipal authorities, and making mayoral committees for safety and security redundant.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato and Mayco Member for Safety and Security JP Smith have also raised concerns over the paper.

The Bill will be brought before Parliament for discussion in March next year.