Police close ranks on gang threats

2016-05-11 12:30
Heavily armed police keep a watchful eye on friends and family of notorious gang leader Ian Williams, who was laid to rest at the Mountain Rise Cemetery.

Heavily armed police keep a watchful eye on friends and family of notorious gang leader Ian Williams, who was laid to rest at the Mountain Rise Cemetery. (Witness Photographer)

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Pietermaritzburg - Pietermaritzburg police are putting up a united front against the threats on the lives of their colleagues by the infamous Williams Gang.

After some officers — who were named on a hit list that began circulating last week — took precautionary measures to find safe refuge for their families, police management yesterday said they are standing strong against threats from gang members.

The threats were made by gang members believed to be affiliated with syndicate boss Ian Williams, who was buried on Sunday after being shot by officers in a gun battle late last month.

Williams and three partners opened fire on police who caught them red-handed trying to steal a vehicle at the Keg and Hedgehog in Montrose on April 30. Bullet casings from automatic assault rifles littered the parking lot after the all-out gun battle.

Yesterday, the acting ­uMgungundlovu north cluster commander, Brigadier Boxer Pillay, expressed his “heartfelt appreciation” for the “dedication, commitment, and outstanding work done in the identification and apprehension of the criminal syndicate”.

He said their sterling work had broken the cycle of crimes perpetrated by the syndicate.

“Management fully understands the challenges and risks associated with the vocation of being a police official and reassures the members and their families that the police will do everything in their power to ensure their safety,” Pillay said.

He reassured his officers that the threats were being taken seriously and “high level investigations” are underway to ensure that the perpetrators are soon brought to justice.

“The police are not afraid of the criminals. The majority of the police place their lives in danger, daily, by virtue of their commitment to protect and serve,” he said.

Reaffirming Pillay’s position on the threats, members of the Combined Action Team’s (CAT) executive management said yesterday their main objective is still to rid Pietermaritzburg of criminals, and they are working twice as hard to do so since the threats.

Shameel Ally said they knew what they were getting into in terms of fighting hardened criminals when the team were put together.

“We were established to remove criminals from the streets and we will continue to do so despite threats made to officers,” Ally said.

Nobin Karien said they would not allow criminals and gangsters to take over the city. “Nobody from CAT is hiding. We will continue fighting crime as we deal with many other high-profile cases, and we have taken down larger criminal syndicates. Threats are common in our profession and we will not be threatened,” he said.

An appeal was made for any information that could assist in the investigation into Williams’s gang. The information can be forwarded to Brigadier Boxer Pillay at 082 4182 018.

• amil.umraw@witness.co.za

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  protest  |  saps  |  gang

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