Army, cops descend on Cape Town suburb

2015-05-22 11:45
A policeman overlooks the scene of multiple raids in Ottery, Cape Town. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

A policeman overlooks the scene of multiple raids in Ottery, Cape Town. (Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - It will take more than one major crackdown to clean the crime-ridden streets of Ottery.

This was the sentiment of frustrated locals who watched South African Police Service, defence force and metro police officers raid crime hotspots in the Grassy Park police precinct in Cape Town on Friday.

The integrated operation started at 04:00. An hour later, five drug-related arrests had already been made.

According to police, the raids were focused on drugs, illegal guns and “other criminal activities which pose a threat to the community”.

By the end of the operation, six people were in police custody. A minor was also nabbed for tik possession.

One gun was seized after it was found hidden in a dirt bin.

One of the first stops was a home in Grassy Park where police believe drugs were being stored.

The men in blue crowded the inside of the house as well as the backyard.

This is the fourth time this month that the house has been searched, the homeowner told News24.

“They haven’t found anything here. We don’t have anything illegal in this house,” she insisted.

‘Looking for trouble’

Her young son asked his older brother why the officers were at their home.

“Don’t worry,” he said. “Hulle soek net kak [they are just looking for trouble].”

Officers retreated about 20 minutes later. No drugs were found.

A luxury home, complete with a pool, in the heart of Lotus Rover was the next property searched for contraband.

As officers made their way into the house’s main bedroom, the suspect’s wife sighed.

“How many times do I have to tell these people we are not storing any guns?” she seethed.

But officers countered that the home, owned by a taxi boss, is being used to store firearms used in the ongoing gang war raging in Ottery.

“They all say my husband is a gangster, but he is not. They are harassing me and my family. They say they will keep coming back until they find something to nail him. They are wasting their time and resources by focusing on us.”

‘All they do is bother us’

Inside, her two children - both under the age of 10 - were fast asleep as officers scoured the house.

“My children hate the police. All they do is bother us.”

Officers left 15 minutes later. No illegal goods have been found.

A kilometre away, about 30 police vans and army trucks were parked outside Weltevrede Court in Ottery.

Women watched from their doorsteps and children in pyjamas stood on the balconies of the neighbouring blocks to witness the commotion.

A woman applauded the officers as they lined the streets.

“Thank you for coming!” she calls. “And when you leave, don’t forget to take the skollie [thug] rubbishes with you!”

On edge

A woman on her way to work told News24 the recent flare-up in gang violence had her on edge.

“My children sometimes refuse to go to school because they are afraid of being shot. They don’t want to go outside to play with their friends, and when they do venture beyond my front door, I start to panic.

“Why do we have to live like this and be kept hostage by a bunch of gangsters who are still young enough to get a hiding? Why can’t the army come here every day?”

An elderly woman points out that one integrated operation will not solve the crime scourge gripping their community.

“This is like trying to clean a house that has been dirty for 20 years in a few hours. It’s not going to happen. We need constant police visibility and raids to clean up this place.”

The operation comes a day after the convoy descended on Manenberg.

Authorities swarmed the streets early on Thursday morning.

Searches resulted in four suspects being arrested. Three guns were confiscated.

Read more on:    police  |  sandf  |  cape town  |  gang violence  |  crime

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