The DA's candidate for Western Cape premier Alan Winde wants a provincial police force.
He told the Cape Town Press Club on Thursday in the colonial remnant of Kelvin Grove in the Southern Suburbs that South African provincial governments are the only democratically elected governments in the world that do not have their own police forces.
He said when the Constitution was negotiated, it made sense not to give provinces a policing mandate as conflict raged in KwaZulu-Natal and a provincial police force partisan to one of the parties would have added fuel to the fire. However, things were different now.
"Policing should not be centralised," he said.
"I'm going to take that as far as I can," he said, with an eye on a possible constitutional amendment.
Currently, provinces only have an oversight mandate in policing. Since the DA took over the province's administration in 2009, it has often crossed swords with the national government over policing, especially in relation to provincial policing priorities and the establishment of specialist units.
Federalism and devolution of power
The Western Cape is the only province that enacted provincial legislation to strengthen its oversight over the police.
This does not mean that Winde wants the Western Cape to secede. He said he was first and foremost a South African, pointing to the national flag on his lapel.
"I do believe in federalism. I do believe power should be devolved."
The veteran of 22 years in the trenches of Western Cape politics views the DA and ANC as the only two serious contenders to take office at 7 Wale Street after next year's general elections.
He admitted that the DA had "shot itself in the foot" in the way it had dealt with the removal of Patricia de Lille as mayor of Cape Town.
Last month De Lille announced the launch of her own party, GOOD.
"In any party, when there is a breakaway, it is painful for your party," he said.
DA aiming for 60%
He did not want to speculate on the impact De Lille's party would have in the province's balance of power.
"We've still got to measure it," he said.
He said the EFF had not really made inroads in the province's rural areas, but it was still to be tested in the city.
There had definitely been a resurgence for the ANC, following a change in its leadership, even though it had "dwindled a bit" of late, he added.
He pointed out that the ANC did not have a provincial chairperson or a candidate for premier.
"My problem in this campaign is: Who is my rival?" he said, with a smile.
"The big question is: Are we going to retain 60%?"
He said this was unlikely, but his job was to ensure that the DA gets closer to 60% than 50% of the provincial vote next year.