Safety in province can be achieved

2019-07-23 06:25

The letter “Safety should be top priority” (People’s Post, 9 July) by MEC Albert Fritz warrants a response.

Fritz claims he was warned to stay clear of an abandoned building in Uitsig used by rival gangs.

But he fails to mention whether he reported this building to his colleagues in the City of Cape Town in terms of the Problem Building by-law.

I too support the concept of safer communities and this can be easily achieved if Fritz buys in to national government initiatives such as the Bambanani programme which revolves around community participation and mobilisation in the fight against crime.

The call for the Army to be deployed is a dangerous one given our sordid past.

When the Army was called in and a state of emergency declared in the favelas of Brazil, it only worsened an already imploding situation.

What needs to happen is that the social conditions of our people must be improved; but, this is not the responsibility of the Army or our Police.

We need to support national government in their fight against crime. Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) investigations have seen an entire gang, the Atlantis Fancy Boys being found guilty in the High Court and locked away for life.

With some hardcore gangsters like “Geweld” behind bars for life, it means that government is already clamping down on “syndicates, gang leaders, drug dealers and murderers who terrorise our people daily”.

Fritz rightfully raises the lack of police presence and visibility.

However, he has failed to exercise his oversight mandate by holding General’s (Khombinkosi) Jula and (Mpumelelo) Manci to account for Operation MORT which is a duplication of work already being done by the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) and other police units.

Some 287 police members and 125 vehicles were taken away from existing duties to work for MORT as a parallel structure to the AGU.

I concur with MEC Fritz that we can get our province back on track but it can’t be with people like some ward councillors who approached a High Court Judge pleading for leniency for a gang member in the “Geweld” trial (source: IOL).

That sends a wrong message to the victims of crime and is an attack on the very freedom that we all enjoy in terms of our Constitution.

Colin Arendse Wynberg
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