South Africa

Inside Western Cape’s plan to lockdown gang lands

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security expressed frustration over the lack of cooperation from Saps on a lockdown initiative

In a bid to quell the escalating gang violence in Cape Town, the City has proposed locking down areas for several days.

Safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith said this was presented to police in a meeting a while ago.

“Several months ago, we tried our best to get on top of the situation and we approached a senior official within the SAPS, to arrange locking an area down for several days by flooding it with resources.

“Our intention was to sift through the entire community, raking up all those who were currently wanted on outstanding warrants, cleaning out an area, before moving on to the next, where we would repeat the cycle.

ALSO READ: 12 primary school learners die in horror crash outside Carletonville

“Several months ago, a certain Saps General said they would consider it.”

Smith said when a follow-up on the plan was discussed last week it was refused.

“The reply given now was a straight-out ‘No.’

“It angers me that we want to partner with the Saps and offer our resources, but we are plainly rejected while communities are left suffering,” said Smith.

Police confirmed the meeting to The Citizen but could not comment on the lockdown plans.

“Be advised that the finer aspects of the operational measures cannot be discussed with the media as this could jeopardise the efficacy thereof,” Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Andre Traut said.

Smith said the City of Cape Town had offered several resources, including Drones and a ISR eye-in-the-sky platform.

100 more boots on the ground

The Western Cape government, City of Cape Town, and police have collaborated on several operations to curb crime and gangsterism in communities.

This included deploying 100 more Saps members to identified station precincts with high murder rates and gang-related crime over the weekend.

ALSO READ: Snake-packed pants: Man nabbed smuggling 100 live reptiles into China [VIDEO]

“Operational plans are afoot to quell the violence in affected areas and Saps will not relax the efforts until the situation has been neutralised,” Traut added.

Sharing data on crime on time

A recent meeting held between Western Cape Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety Anroux Marais, Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile, and other officials focused on addressing the surge in gang-related crime.

The meeting also put a spotlight on police precincts lacking adequate policing resources, including the Grassy Park and Steenberg policing precincts.

Marais emphasised the importance of understanding the situation on the ground.

ALSO READ: Hazyview farm manager found guilty of fraud worth R4.4m

He said before relevant officials decide on a precise strategy, it is essential that they “understand what the real picture is across other communities as well”.

“We [as the Western Cape government] could assist by arranging that additional provincial or municipal resources be redirected to areas most in need. That decision must be made immediately. Instead, we are all only made aware of it 3 to 4 months after the event. This is not ‘crime intelligence,’ it is a crime history lesson,” he added.