Cape Town – The Hard Livings gang, which has strongholds in several Cape Town suburbs, got special mention from Police Minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday when he released the annual national crime statistics in Parliament.
Gang violence has spiked over recent months in the Western Cape.
However, the statistics do not necessarily reflect a sharp increase in murders in gang hot spots around Cape Town.
The statistics cover the period from the start of April 2016 to the end of March 2017.
INFOGRAPHIC: South Africa's crime stats at a glance
During his briefing on Tuesday, Mbalula asked whether it had become acceptable to live alongside "violent criminals... be it... the Hard Livings gangs across the Cape Flats".
He said crimes that indicate the effectiveness of policing show "the lazy efforts by the police to detect such crime in order to make South Africa a safer place to live in".
"Gauteng, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape must have increased police action," Mbalula said.
On October 10 Mbalula announced that he had requested the South African National Defence Force to help quell violent crimes in the Western Cape and in Gauteng.
Mbalula said the army was needed to assist in tackling gang violence in particular in the Western Cape.
His mention of the Hard Livings again highlighted the gang problem the province is experiencing.
Manenberg, a suburb about 17km from the city centre, is a historic gang hot spot and one of the main strongholds of the Hard Livings gang. It has been the scene of several recent shootings.
According to the statistics released on Tuesday, from the period April 1 in 2016 to the end of March 2017, sixty murders were recorded in the suburb, five less than in the year before.
LIVE UPDATE: Mbalula releases crime stats
Attempted murders also decreased by seven from 130 to 144.
The number of arrests for illegal guns and ammunition also dropped – from 144 cases to 99.
News24 previously reported that the Hard Livings gang is locked in a battle with, among others, the Sexy Boys gang, which has a stronghold in Belhar, and the 26s, over drug turf.
Hard Livings and Sexy Boys gang members are also said to be involved in an underworld turf war over nightclub security, which started heating up in the Western Cape earlier this year.
Some 28s gang members are said to be backing some of those involved in the underworld turf war. In July alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield was wounded in a drive-by shooting in Johannesburg.
The 28s have a stronghold in Bishop Lavis, as well as in Elsies River.
Nearly 100 murders in 28s stronghold
According to the statistics, murders and attempted murders had increased over a year in Bishop Lavis.
From the period April 1 in 2016 to the end of March 2017, 97 murders were carried out there. This was an increase of 20 murders when compared to the year before.
In Bishop Lavis, attempted murders had increased by 21 from the 2015/2016 period to the year ending on March 31, 2017.
Ninety-nine cases of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition were recorded in the year ending on March 31. An increase of 27 more cases compared to the year before.
In Elsies River, a 28s stronghold, 65 murders were recorded in the year ending on March 31 – 7 more murders compared to the previous year.
156 attempted murders
Attempted murders decreased by seven from 163 to 156.
Cases of illegal firearms and ammunition doubled.
Eighty-three cases were recorded in the 2015/2016 period, while 125 cases were recorded over the year ending on March 31.
The 28s gang is said to be taking on several other rival gangs, including the 26s and Sexy Boys gang.
In one of the most recent shootings, alleged Sexy Boys gang leader Jerome "Donkie" Booysen was wounded at the Cape Town International Airport last Wednesday.
A second person was also wounded in this shooting.
Last Thursday evening two men apparently tried to get to Booysen and someone with close ties to him in the hospital where he was recovering.
One of the men, who had been disguised as a woman, was arrested.
A stolen car was also found at the scene.
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