We need a special anti-gang unit - Western Cape ANC
28 September 2017
Cape Town - The Western Cape ANC will embark on a multi-pronged anti-gang strategy this month, which includes petitioning national Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to implement the national anti-gang strategy.
Western Cape ANC officials told the media on Thursday that the South African Police Service (SAPS) and the provincial Democratic Alliance (DA) government could be doing more to tackle the recent "explosion" of gang-related crime in Cape Town.
Acting provincial chairperson Khaya Magaxa said policing in the Western Cape had left much to be desired.
"More than 25 communities have already been affected by violent gang fights and we call on our government to immediately address this by working closely with community policing and safety forums, street communities and neighbourhood watches."
Magaxa said the party will go door-to-door in its six regions to "mobilise" volunteers to join policing and safety forums, and to sign its petition.
They will also lobby the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) to intensify investigations into corrupt police officials who have been accused of selling firearms to gangsters.
"These police officers who collude with gangsters must be criminally prosecuted and sent to jail because they have sentenced the youth to death by working with gangsters."
Special anti-gang force
Provincial secretary Faiez Jacobs said they would welcome the establishment of a special anti-gang unit, as a comprehensive managerial approach was needed, not a "quick-fix solution".
"Clearly we need all hands on deck. We need a specialised gang unit who can deal with this," Jacobs said.
"If we understand the intelligence, if we know who the high flyers are and how they operate, if we put nyalas in the crossfire, then we can monitor the situation.
"What is happening now is we are responsive to the killings. We are not proactive."
They would set up their own anti-gang unit that would work with non-government organisations if the provincial government declined the calls for a special unit.
They also called on the DA to reprioritise their budget in poor communities, and "stop spending so much on technology". Magaxa claimed the ANC government had budgeted R30m in Khayelitsha alone between 2002-2008 and volunteers were paid a stipend.
There was currently too much tension between community policing forums and neighbourhood watches, he said. Simple things were required, like ensuring all streets had lighting and cameras were reactivated in areas like Khayelitsha.
Parents and volunteers should also come forward and safeguard children at schools.
"Communities must take active responsibility for their safety, they must co-create," Jacobs said.
A specialised prosecution unit was also required, as localised investigations were too easily compromised.
Ultimately, young people needed to be encouraged to leave the "criminal economy", and to put gang lords on notice, as they had become role models in some communities.
They needed to be "brokers of hope".
They also called on the Democratic Alliance to "stop blaming" the national police for a lack of urgency, and to invest more in community policing and safety forums in all areas in the city, not just "DA wards".
City of Cape Town safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith has previously expressed frustration that policing in the province is a national competency.
The SAPS have over 22 000 police officials in Cape Town, while metro police have less than 1 000, making it difficult for provincial governments to police.
Communities, national police and provincial government all needed to work together, Magaxa finished, and called on the DA to work with the opposition ANC in the province on the matter.