Police Minister Bheki Cele revealed that there have been over 50 reported murders in the Western Cape over the Easter weekend.
Cele revealed that statistics during a parade of newly-deployed officers in the province, where 200 police officers were deployed through the crime register to help quell the gradual increase in violent crimes, especially crimes related to gang violence on the Cape Flats.
The multidisciplinary officers, welcomed by Police Minister Bheki Cele and the provincial police management at a police camp in Belhar yesterday, were meant to be force multipliers within the existing Operation Lockdown in the province.
According to Cele, the officers have been deployed since March in the Khayelitsha, Delft, Kraaifontein, Nyanga, Harare and Philippi East policing precincts.
Cele said crime in the Western Cape remained stubborn in several crime categories. He said out of 30 top stations, one would find that more than 10 of those stations come from the Western Cape, especially the city.
He said “This is the city that develops different roots of crime, for whatever reason. I don’t know most of the drugs that are produced in the country found to be destined for this city, hence in Worcester, we will have a roadblock and a burst of about R15 million worth coming from other provinces especially Gauteng to here”.
Community Policing Forum (CPF) provincial chairperson Fransina Lukas said the deployment was great news, because they have been complaining to the police management about a lack resources to deal with violent crime and gangsterism on the Cape Flats.
Lukas said she was hoping the additional resources would make a meaningful difference to stopping killings in communities.
He said fighting gangsterism and the social ills associated with it was not only the responsibility of the police.
Arendse also said “Those responsible for the lack of service delivery in the city and province that provides a breeding ground for young gangsters to flourish should also be held to account”.
The chairperson of parliament’s portfolio committee on police, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, said the battle against gangsterism in the Western Cape was very serious and needed a lot of attention.
Community safety standing committee chairperson in the Western Cape legislature Reagan Allen said he has enquired from the provincial Department for Community Safety about their role towards the police and a full disclosure of operations and objectives, and the rand value of the deployment in line with the duration.
Allen said “While additional support from the police was important, this temporary deployment of officers is only a band-aid on a festering wound”.
He said their concerns remained the same.
“We need a permanent increase in the quantity and value of police resources. This has to be done by the lead policing agent in the country, and that is a decision which only the national government can take”.