Cape Town - Western Cape gang members were reportedly using Facebook and social media to give orders for criminal activities in the embattled Cape Flats suburbs, police have said.
According to deputy provincial commissioner for detection services, Major General Jeremy Vearey, monitoring social media sites successfully led Western Cape police to gang activities.
“Yes, we have picked up and had successes in the use of Facebook, Whatsapp and those things are being looked at,” he told journalists during a media briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
Large amounts of cellphones were often seized from the province’s prisons. Police were aware of gangs ordering hits on people through sites including chat site Outoilet.
“The monitoring has indeed assisted us with gangsters in prisons and those in jail.”
Social media presented a challenge in that “an evidential standard” needed to be maintained in the courts, said Vearey.
Convictions had been secured in the past using social media, as was done with a Worcester gang who communicated inside and outside of prison.
‘Highly-skilled officers’ deployed
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula meanwhile said "highly-skilled and trained" police officers have been deployed to gang-infested areas in Manenberg following a flare-up of shootings, News24 reported on Tuesday.
These members would remain in the area until the violence had subsided and order was restored.
"We are assuring members of Manenberg and surrounding areas that we are responding to challenges," he said.
Jula said the police always tried to improve their strategies. "We believe... that we can’t achieve different results if we keep on doing the same thing over and over again."
Police shortage receiving ‘lots of attention’
Jula also said the shortage of police resources in the Western Cape was being actively addressed, News24 reported later on Tuesday.
Speaking at the same conference, Jula said the Western Cape was receiving “a lot of support” from acting national police commissioner Lieutenant General Khomotso Phahlane.
“There is a process where we are getting a lot of members allocated to the province,” he said.
Candidates would also receive training at the police college from Monday.
“It is being taken very seriously but we know it is not going to be possible to have members that are available in all places at the same time.”