Debate on gangs and crime grows heated
Tempers flare in Western Cape Legislature discussion
WHERE children on the Cape Flats once played soccer in the street, they now cock guns and use drugs. And ordinary citizens do not want report police corruption because its in vain to report Satan to the Devil.
These were some of the comments that politicians shouted at each other during a heated Western Cape Legislature debate on the 2017 “State of Urban Safety in South African Cities Report” drafted by the Urban Safety Reference Group.
The debate comes amid a chilling admission by the Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi, that guns which recently disappeared from the Bellville South and Mitchells Plain police stations, were stolen by a member of the police and sold to gangsters.
DA Western Cape spokesperson on community safety, Mireille Wenger, said although Cape Town had the lowest level of poverty of SA’s metros, the city had a high crime rate.
“The murder rate has increased by 40% over the last five years. Philippi East was used as a case study where one in 10 people said that they carried a gun for self-protection. Even neighbourhood watch members fear for their lives when they are on patrol, as it’s a case of ‘batons against guns’, one of the study’s participants said.
“There are guns all over our township. For every three people you meet, one of them has an illegal gun with them,” Wenger said.
She added that Philippi East was the city’s murder capital, and not Nyanga.
“While Nyanga may have the highest number of murders in total number of cases, we must also look at the number of murders in proportion to the population. A larger population may be expected to record higher murder numbers, so if we look at the number of murders in relation to the population, we have a real problem in Philippi East,” she said.
The ANC’s Western Cape spokesperson on community safety, Pat Lekker, said the report acknowledged that, on average, fewer than half as many people were likely to be murdered today than in 1994.
“The ANC-led government in this province managed to work so hard and reduced the murder rate from 55 per 100 000 to 40 between 2005 and 2009. In contrast, the murder rate has since increased from 40 to 62 between 2009 and 2016. Clearly, the ANC gains were reversed under the DA-led government.”
Lekker claimed that between 2015 and this year, police officers and other law-enforcement agencies had arrested almost 60 suspects for crime-related offences. “This is over and above 338 suspects arrested during intelligence-driven operations in Nyanga, approved by JP Smith (city mayco member for safety, security and social services). Many of these suspects were found in possession of illegal firearms, ammunition, drugs and other dangerous weapons.”
DA MPL Basil Kivedo said stray bullets had killed too many children.
“Where a child once played, he now cocks a gun. Where a young boy once aspired to be a sportsman, a fireman, or a lawyer, he now seeks the approval of his older peers and the sense of belonging to a gang,” he said.
Acting Premier Alan Winde said the ANC was constantly quoting numbers but was not making any progress.
He also spoke on behalf of Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, who was in Kleinmond where violent protests have erupted.
WHERE A YOUNG BOY ONCE ASPIRED TO BE A SPORTSMAN, FIREMAN OR A LAWYER, HE NOW SEEKS THE SENSE OF BELONGING TO A GANG