Mbalula vows to end gang rule in Nelson Mandela Bay

2017-11-18 13:43
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. (File, Jan Gerber, News24)

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. (File, Jan Gerber, News24)

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Port Elizabeth – Police Minister Fikile Mbalula met with the community leaders of Helenvale, Port Elizabeth, an area engulfed by drugs and gangster violence, as part of an ongoing effort to mobilise communities to work together with the police in fighting crime.

Mbalula, who addressed community leaders at the Helenvale Resource Centre, said it was time the people of Helenvale felt safe again.

Leaders from the community expressed their fears on revealing who perpetrators are, as this would risk the safety of their own families.

"We know the difficulties that these communities go through and that you are being suffocated by gangs who manage and control communities.

"We cannot allow people to live in a state of fear and they give up hope, where criminals rule," he said.

Recruiting learners 

Mbalula was informed that gangsters had started to recruit young learners into their circles. The community asked for urgent intervention to ensure the safety of these young learners.

"These gangsters have started to recruit our children from schools But as community leaders, we remain upbeat that working with the police, we will defeat these criminals," said one of the leaders present.

During the meeting, community leaders agreed to revive street committees and appreciated the work done by the Operation Command Centre (OCC), an intelligence lead operation unit piloted in Port Elizabeth in 2016.

"I can assure the community here that they will not be ruled by gangs, and those promoting gangsterism must know that wherever they are it is a matter of time until we find them," he said.

"We cannot co-exist with criminals, we are oil and water. I don’t want police who are cowards, police must understand, policing is a calling, it is a thankless job. As a police man or woman, you risk your life and nobody will say thank you," Mbalula said.

Army deployment to deal with gangsters

Mbalula again committed to having the army deployed to assist the police in addressing gangsterism.

"We are going to bring the soldiers here, not to terrorise our people but to make the streets safe again.

"We are going to sweep this area clean, street by street, house by house, and we are going to squeeze them and make life unbearable for them so that we can take back our freedom that we fought for," he said.

Mbalula also announced that a police station would be built in Helenvale to further affirm police presence.

Former gangster evicted from meeting

During the address, a reformed gangster, Julian Julies, introduced himself as "the minister of gangsters", which provoked Mbalula.

"I will not be addressed by a gangster. Get out of here, the police might be afraid of you but I am not," Mbalula said as he instructed his personnel to remove Julies from the premises.

"I am very angry. I don’t admire gangsters. It is enough that they terrorise the community, they will not be allowed here," he said.

Mbalula promised those present that he would be back, for further engagements and follow ups.

"We came, we heard, we saw. In two weeks, I will be back, entering house by house, street by street, we will never allow gangsters to terrorise our people. There will never be a no-go area in South Africa," Mbalula said.

Read more on:    fikile mbalula  |  port elizabeth  |  crime

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