Tensions high after Soweto man killed, Cele promises police station more resources

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Pimville resident Kgomotso Diale was shot and killed on Monday in a clash between two communities over allegations of copper theft
Pimville resident Kgomotso Diale was shot and killed on Monday in a clash between two communities over allegations of copper theft
Jeff Wicks
  • Bheki Cele visited the home of Kgomotso Diale, a Pimville resident who was shot and killed on Monday.
  • Diale was part of a group of residents who marched to the chicken farm informal settlement.
  • Cele promised 10 vehicles to the Kliptown police station to help with policing in the area. 

Police Minister Bheki Cele promised better resources for the Kliptown police station in Soweto to deal with tensions between residents of Pimville and the chicken farm informal settlement.

Cele visited the police station after Pimville resident Kgomotso Diale was shot and killed on Monday, near the chicken farm informal settlement.

Diale, a father of two, was part of a group of residents who marched to the settlement. They say the settlement is responsible for copper theft in their area and regularly leaves Pimville residents without power. 

According to police, there was an altercation between the two communities, following which shots were fired, leaving Diale dead and a woman injured. 

The group that descended on the settlement consisted of Pimville residents and those affiliated with Operation Dudula. 

Cele visited Diale's family and later addressed residents who had gathered outside the Diale house in Soweto. 

"Our problem is that we have had an issue with cable theft for the last three years. We were shot at until our brother was killed and others were injured. We are glad you are here, Mr Cele, but the big issue hasn't been solved.

"Mr Cele, we don't want those shacks there anymore. They must be demolished. We aren't asking for people to be arrested. We want those shacks removed. We went to them, as a community, and after what happened, I am still in shock," said community leader Thabang Moloi.

The minister said that 10 police vehicles would be given to the station, which would aid in patrolling the area.

"The community has raised the issue of a problem following a shooting. As a state and as the police, we can't sit back and let people use illegal firearms, with the allegation that they themselves are illegal. More so, we have lost a life here, and people's lives here are disrupted on a permanent basis," Cele said.

Cele said:

We are here to pay our respects to the dead compatriot, but also, as the police, to work together with the provincial management to see how we can assist, so they can be responsive. As you heard the community saying, we are not responsive, and we will have to work on that.

Representatives from City Power were in attendance during Cele's meeting at the police station to assist in finding a collaborative approach to dealing with copper theft. 

City Power officials cut off illegal connections in the settlement.

"Your lives are disrupted every day without fail when people steal copper cables that are meant to provide electricity to you," Cele told residents. 

 A team of 12 detectives has been tasked with investigating Diale's murder. 

"The first price will be that the people who committed the murder and attempted murder should be arrested in at least the next 48 hours, so we can see them and let them explain what happened because I am told that it was a peaceful march and that they weren't provoked by anything. I am told that they just wanted to kill," he said. 

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Operation Dudula leader Nhlanhla Lux was among the community leaders who addressed the residents after Cele.

When asked about the optics of Lux's presence, Cele said: "I am not here to address any political affiliations. I am here to address the members of the community of Pimville. I am sure you listened very well when the last speaker said that, even the person regarded as a leader of Dudula, Nhlanhla Lux, is a Pimville resident. On that ticket, he is present here, so I guess there are people from political affiliations," said Cele. 

"I have got nothing to do with politics today and all to do with residents. It must be so that residents must collaborate in finding peace in their lives. Therefore, I have [no] qualms with standing with whoever will make people's lives better, so long as all those things happen within the law."

The minister said he would visit the police station and the community next week to check on progress. 

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