Tell gangsters to 'stop killing our children' - Cele tells mourners at 5-year-old Lavender Hills boy's funeral

Valentino Grootetjie
Valentino Grootetjie
Foto Verskaf

Minister of Police Bheki Cele has declared war on gang infested parts of the Western Cape.

"For me, someone has declared war here and as the South African police we are not going to be asking who has declared war here. We have to fight this war. If denied that there is war here, why are there dead bodies? We don't get bodies of soldiers.

"Even in standard wars, women and children are not killed," he said.

Cele was speaking on Saturday at the funeral of five-year-old Valentino Christiano Grootetjie who was killed during an alleged gang fight.

Valentino was struck in the head by a stray bullet inside his parents’ house in Drury Court, Lavender Hill last Saturday.

Cele said he always receives the same complaint about corrupt officers who work with gangsters, whenever he visits the Western Cape.

"They say 'Cele, your police are corrupt. Your officers are part of these gangsters'," he said.

He said another major problem was that some of his officers are conflicted in these situations as they grew up in the affected areas.

"….. there is one [thing] that we need to do as the leadership of the police. We are [agreeing] that we are not going to send officers where they [were] born. I will not."

Cele said officers will be deployed in various parts of the country, instead of their home towns.

People live freely

The minister called on gangsters to allow people in affected areas to live their normal lives freely without being hurt or killed.

"… these gangsters sometimes abuse the situation that people here are desperate. So that has nothing to do with any form of politics. There is [a] call for government to serve its people.

"As the police, it is not our job to come here and mourn. Our job is to give answers. I am glad that for this (incident), two people have been arrested and I have been told that someone yesterday was shot and killed," he said.

He told mourners to go and tell gangsters to stop killing "our" children.

"You know them. They are your brothers, your boyfriends, your husbands and your sons, you go and say to them, 'stop killing our children'. Say to them, 'do everything you want to do, but save our children'. Don’t allow our children to be killed [by] gangsters. Also, mothers save the children and don’t allow them to be recruited by gangsters. You see the pattern when your child is changing.

"When your child is not going to school, you are opening that child to be recruited by gangsters," Cele said.

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