Operation to tackle gangs

2018-05-29 06:00

In an effort to address the scourge of gang violence in communities on the Cape Flats, a community engagement operation took place in Lavender Hill on Friday.

The area, which is served by Steenberg Police Station, falls within the Mitchell’s Plain cluster of policing. National police commissioner, General Khehla John Sitole and Western Cape provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula attended the event. It was also an opportunity for police leadership to unveil and inform residents of Operation Thunder – an intervention programme which concentrates on the scourge of gang violence which plagues communities on the Cape Flats.

“Operation Thunder, with its 269 officers, comprising detectives, crime intelligence, national intervention unit officers, [public order policing and tactical response team] officers are in the province and they are conducting operations within identified precincts as a means to quell violent gang-related incidents,” said Jula.

“We do want to say that this time around, we have decided that we have to change our approach slightly. We do that because whenever we have engagements, we learn lessons from them that we are having with you. Those lessons sometimes teach us that we cannot keep on doing things in the same way and expect better results.”

Meanwhile, provincial MEC for community safety Dan Plato, says that although gang violence is responsible for putting residents’ lives at risk, he feels interpersonal violence is a major contributing factor.

“I pick up that we only focus on one issue creating death and we neglect the other one. Interpersonal violence is responsible for a much bigger death rate in our communities. A person stabbing and killing someone else for a bottle of wine or a disagreement about an issue, but what I picked up in the last couple of months in our communities, the violent nature in many of our communities is a major issue,” said Plato.

He added that he is astounded by the lawlessness and lack of respect shown by residents in communities.

“It is as if people misunderstand human rights. ‘It is my human right to do whatever I want to do and nobody can touch me. Police can take me to court and that is where it stops’. Furthermore you believe in your mind that you have the right to continue creating mayhem in your communities,” adds Plato.

He urged community leadership to address the issue, while ensuring communities who protest do not resort to destructive practices.

Lavender Hill resident Mabeleen Chapman called on residents to stand up and root out those who are contributing to the unrest in the area.

She further suggested that should gangsters be found to be in council rental units, that they be evicted for their criminal activities and that the vacated house be given to residents who have been on the waiting list for housing opportunities.

V Continued on page 2.

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