The KwaZulu-Natal provincial executive council (PEC) has identified the province’s high crime rate as its number one priority.

The PEC held a sitting in Durban on Wednesday where it vowed to take the war to criminals and bring down the crime rate in the province.

It said there would be a “recalibrated comprehensive intervention plan” to disrupt gangs and criminal networks, intercept drugs, seize illegal guns, apprehend criminals and bring them to justice.

The crime rate in KwaZulu-Natal remains a cause for concern as the quarterly crime statistics for January to March showed KZN’s murder rate increased 16.9%.

Areas such as Plessislaer, Inanda, uMlazi, Mpumalanga, KwaMashu and Esikhaleni recorded some of the highest murder rates in the country.

In April, police minister Bheki Cele visited the Plessislaer policing precinct, just outside Pietermaritzburg.

At least 110 additional members have been deployed to the province to deal with areas of concern such as Imbali township in Plessislaer, Inanda and Umlazi.

In March, the Sunday Times reported on a notorious taxi route between uMzinyathi and Ndwedwe, north of Durban, where at least 11 taxi-related murders and 25 cases of attempted murder had taken place since June last year.

The provincial government believes that “aggressive operations that instil fear among criminals” are the answer.

“The provincial government of KwaZulu-Natal has committed not to allow this level of violence and mayhem to continue anywhere in the province and will work tirelessly to protect the citizens.”