War against gangs gaining momentum - police

2015-06-18 16:50
(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - The harsh sentences meted out to four gang members who killed two of their own was part of a concerted effort to clamp down on gangsterism in the Western Cape, the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) said on Thursday.

“We remain resolute in protecting communities against the scourge of gangsterism," provincial justice department head Hishaam Mohamed said.

Moments earlier the Western Cape High Court handed down life terms to three men and 20-years in jail to a fourth man for the murders last year.

Mohamed said the sentences were the result of hard work and concerted efforts by police investigators and prosecutors.

Isadore Links, Henwill Wolhuter, Clayton Swartz (gang leader) and Jerome Bosman were sentenced for murder, dealing in methamphetamine (tik) and possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition.

They belonged to the Young Red Criminals, a Worcester street gang and were marked with "YRC" tattoos.

They shot dead Mitchell Lakay and Deswill Coetzee in January 2014. They had also stoned Coetzee when they realised he was still alive. The men's bodies were found in a shallow grave next to the R43 between Worcester and Villiersdorp.

“The murder itself... related to two of their own members being killed for allegedly running away with their drugs,” said the provincial head of the police’s anti-gang unit Jeremy Vearey.

He said two major gang formations in the Worcester area - the Junior Cisco Yakkies and the Dog Pounds - had been “at war” in the last decade.

The Young Red Criminals were a younger offshoot of the Dog Pounds.

“They were a cut about the normal boys standing on the corner type of gang.”

The court handed down the following jail terms for all but Bosman, to be served concurrently - five years for gang-related charges, 15 years for dealing in tik, two life terms for the murders, three years for illegal possession of a firearm and two years for illegal possession of ammunition.

Bosman received five years for gang-related charges, 10 years for drug-dealing, 20 years for each of the murders, two years for illegal firearm possession and a year for illegal ammunition possession.

The court said the sentences needed to act as a deterrent and reassure the community the justice system could be relied upon.

Read more on:    cape town  |  gangs  |  crime

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