Cops tighten security in Philippi

2019-07-11 06:00
Minister of Police Bheki Cele addressing the residents at Philippi East Community Hall.PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

Minister of Police Bheki Cele addressing the residents at Philippi East Community Hall.PHOTOS: UNATHI OBOSE

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Police minister Bheki Cele has vowed to beef up security and deploy more police officers at the Philippi East police station in Lower Crossroads in a quest to fight crime in the area.

He visited the area on Monday 8 July following the brutal murder of 11 people over the weekend.

He also visited the families and relatives of the deceased before attending a community meeting at the Philippi East Community Hall.

According to unconfirmed reports, at least more than 20 people have been killed in gang-related violence in the area since last month.

Cele urged the residents to cooperate with the police in order for the culprits to be arrested.

“The national police commissioner General Khehla Sithole will deploy police officers and members of Tactic Response Team (TRT) within 24 hours as from now.

“We want the community to open their doors when the police are knocking because if they don’t want to open it the police will do so,” said Cele.

On Tuesday 9 July Cele held a meeting with ministers of Basic Education, Justice and Correctional Service, Social Development, Defence and Military Veterans and in an attempt to find a way to resolve some of the challenges in the communities.

He said he wanted to make sure that people who were arrested and granted bail were not given bail again when they commit crime.

“They must stay in custody,” he said and received thunderous applause.

Community leader Vuyokazi Songelwa described the situation in the area as tense. She said everyone lived in fear.

“The minister is giving us hope now that there will be more deployment of police. That means there will be more police visibility,” said Songelwa.

She said the escalation of crime in the area is alarming. “As from last month, there are 22 people who died.

“The killings started as a fight between gangs but now we see innocent people being killed in their houses,” she said, adding that the majority of the culprits are between the ages of 11 and 17.

Provincial police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said police have initiated a 72-hour action plan following several shooting incidents in the area. “On Friday 5 July the police discovered the bodies of women between the ages of 18 and 26 in Marcus Garvey. “On Saturday 6 July in two separate shooting incidents five men aged between 18 and 39 were shot dead and one injured,” said Van Wyk.

He added that the motive for the shooting remains the subject of “an intensive police investigation”.

“The action plan in response to this entails lockdown operations in the area that are conducted by the Public Order police, K9 and Flying Squad members.

“From an investigation perspective, detectives with crime intelligence are hard at work following leads that could result in the arrest of the perpetrators of these incidents,” he said.

Van Wyk urged residents with any information to call the investigating officer Warrant Officer Larry Arnoldus on 079 880 9822 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

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