Police seek solutions

2018-05-31 12:26
Minister Bheki Cele. Photo: Samantha Lee

Minister Bheki Cele. Photo: Samantha Lee

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In a bid to find sustainable solutions to the scourge of gang violence in Mitchell’s Plain and the Cape Flats, the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, hosted a work session at the New Apostolic Church in Tafelsig on Thursday.

Residents, community policing forum officials, safety volunteers and police officials including the cluster, national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole and Western Cape provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula attended the work session.

“There is death in this place,” says Cele. “Of all the deaths, gang violence only accounts for 20% of deaths in the Western Cape.

“On the Cape Flats there is gangsterism and death and we must fight death where we see it.”

There has reportedly been around 25 deaths in the Mitchell’s Plain precinct in the last month.

In response to the gang problem, the police have initiated a three-month long operation that will aim to increase officers on the streets of the worst affected areas of Cape Town with a specific focus on the Cape Flats.

The deployment will last 90 days and will be focussed on areas like Mitchell’s Plain, Hanover Park, Manenberg, Nyanga, Khayelitsha and other parts of the Cape Flats, seeking to stabilise and normalise these areas (“Cele back with a bang”, People’s Post, 22 May).

“We have brought 269 officers who are not from this part of the world. We have seen that most of the people who are dying are bystanders. Innocent people are dying daily,” he says.

He also noted with concern the high levels of truancy in areas such as Manenberg­.

“I was walking in Manenberg and there are lots of children who are not at school. I asked them why and they said they don’t go to school on a Tuesday. That was their own rules,” he says.

Cele says police will focus on the gang issue but insists community members have a vital role to play in combating the problem.

“We must create a roadmap developed by the communities. It cannot be the job of the police and law enforcement alone,” he says.

He adds that residents must not hide their brothers, fathers, uncles and boyfriends. He added that residents should take responsibility for their homes and streets by controlling their family.

“The most important organisation in the world is family. There is none more important than that. If we do not take care of that, we do not have a world,” he says.

His approach included a deliberation session that gave residents the opportunity to raise issues and ideas.

While he continues that many residents continue to ask for the deployment of the army to the Cape Flats, he denied the need for their involvement.

Cele did not deny the seriousness of the problem and vowed that police would too take it seriously, but insisted the residents should too.

“Life will have to be better after today. We must work together. All the churches, government [and residents] so that we can move those who cause hardships out of the community. We are here to do a lot of listening. We want to reduce the death and hardships in our communities,” he says.

In addition, Major General Jeremy Veary also did a presentation on the policing of gangs with insight into the policing of gangs.

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