Finance minister digs deeper to bolster fight against crime

Finance Minister Enoch Godongwane has dug deeper into the state’s coffers to bolster the fight against crime.

During his Budget Speech address at the National Assembly sitting in Cape Town City Hall on Wednesday, Godongwana announced that over R765-billion has been allocated to the peace and security cluster for the next three financial years.

Of that budget, over R125-billion has been allocated to the police services for the 2024–2025 financial year.

The allocation comes after Police Minister Bheki Cele announced an increase in the country’s crime rate.

Cele revealed that over 7 710 people lost their lives between October 1 and December 31, sounding the call for immediate intervention. This represents a 2.1% increase in violent deaths over the same period.

“The peace and security function is allocated R765 billion over the medium term to combat crime and ensure territorial integrity.

“This total includes additional allocations of R39.4 billion to selected departments to cover the carry-through costs of the 2023/24 public-service wage increase. Of this, R22-billion is allocated to the Department of Police.”

New recruits are to be trained

Godongwana said the allocated budget will enable the police department to rationalise its organisational structures, align districts, implement cost-effective measures, and improve operations. He said it would also foster strategic partnerships with local municipalities to ensure safety.

“In the coming financial year, 10,000 new police recruits will be trained. As part of the country’s responsibility to promote regional peace and stability, this budget will also allocate funding for the deployment of soldiers in Mozambique and the DRC,” Godongwana said.

South Africa has been a member of the international financial crime watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which is tasked with combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism across national borders, since 2003.

In 2021, the FATF published its mutual evaluation report highlighting vulnerabilities in the country’s anti-money-laundering system and subsequently added South Africa to its grey list of poor anti-terrorism and money-laundering controls.

An update on the grey list status is expected to be announced later this week.

However, according to Godongwana, R620-million has been allocated to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development for the implementation of recommendations from the FATF.

The Zondo commission

This budget will also accommodate recommendations made by the Zondo Commission, which sought to unveil state capture.

Over R16.5-million has been set aside for the protection of the public interest, investigating misconduct complaints by the legal services ombud.

“The Department of Defence will prioritise acquiring vehicles and technology to safeguard the country’s borders.

“An amount of R1.9-billion is reallocated within the Department of Defence for day-to-day maintenance and emergency repairs.

“Measures are being implemented to reduce the pressure on employee compensation and sustain critical defence capabilities.”

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