Deputy Speaker, the violence that has erupted across our country requires leadership from this Parliament to unite our nation in a time of crisis. The scapegoating of foreign nationals must be condemned by every single member of this House. However, we must also rise to condemn the outrageous scapegoating of our own citizens by hon Malema and Ace Magashule, who last week questioned why white South Africans are not being targeted in the ongoing violence.
This is the slippery slope from which this country may never recover and members should be very careful of what they say in public. This is the time for members of this House to stand up and condemn those divisive comments and unite our nation behind the founding values of our constitutional democracy.
In this very moment, we are standing at a cross roads. We can choose the path of weak and populist leadership upon which the flames of hatred burn eternal or we can choose the difficult path which is to stand together from our different backgrounds and political parties as South Africans and lead our people and this nation out of this time of violence and turmoil so that we may live together in a prosperous and peaceful country.
We must choose the path of united leadership, for if we are not united on this issue, we will never be able to unite our nation. This is why today I point no fingers, but present solutions to the Minister and this house in an effort to work together to overcome the violence.
Just last week, after writing to the National Police Commissioner, I was pleased to hear that he convened the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure on Thursday. This is a positive step towards ensuring a coordinated intelligence approach across the security cluster and demonstrates what is possible when we work together.
In an era of fake news and disinformation, it is now more important than ever before for the security cluster to release daily updates on the violence so that there is a singular source of credible information available to the public. This will go a long way in preventing the spread of fake news which has the potential to incite further conflict.
The most critical concern remains the lack of intelligence, which is a direct contributing factor to the inability of SA Police Service, Saps, to adequately anticipate and contain violent unrest across the country. This failure of crime intelligence needs urgent leadership intervention to restore confidence among our police officers on the ground and the people of the country.
Our police officers are faced with overwhelming numbers of incidents on a daily basis and are simply under resourced to appropriately deal with the scale and frequency of the violence. South Africa remains 64 000 police officers short of meeting the United Nation's, UN, policing ratio of one officer to every 220 citizens.
With Budget cuts looming the accelerated recruitment of police reservists will ensure we have more boots on the ground to improve police visibility and response times. In 2010, South Africa had over 63 000 police reservists and today we are left with only 9 000. This is a cost effective and potentially quick response to bolster the ranks of SAPS and keep our communities safe.
Implementing section 13(7) of the SA Police Service Act, Act 68 of 1995 is an immediate option available to all provincial police commissioners wherein they may cordon off and contain an area for search and seizure operations for no more than 24 hours. This must be implemented in all communities where xenophobic violence has occurred over the last three weeks.
Section 13(7) interventions should be reinforced by credible intelligence so as to not only respond but anticipate violence and contain it before it spreads.
Minister, these are just some practical solutions which can assist us in tackling the crime waves sweeping our country. I would urge you to consider your whole response carefully in this debate, as it will define whether you are in fact serious about working together or whether you will allow politics to trump the people yet again.
To the hon members of this House, this is our moment and we must seize it. We must stand up and we must speak out. We must condemn the scapegoating of foreign nationals and our fellow citizens and remember the wise words of Pastor Niemoller who said and I quote:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a socialist. Then, they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out, because I was not a trade unionist. Then, they came for the Jews and I did not speak out,
because I was not a Jew. Then, they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.
I thank you.