Sat, 04 Jul 2020

Police Minister Bheki Cele says the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) - set up to curb crime in gang-ridden communities in the Western Cape - cannot be the lone fighter of crime, adding that he could not promise that it would eradicate crime.

Cele was addressing the media following a stakeholder engagement, which was held in Samora Machel on Monday.

Last week, two men were killed along Oliver Tambo Drive in the area, while last month, five people were killed in separate incidents, also in the same area.

The community has raised concerns over operations at the local police station, with a neighbourhood watch member, Thandiswa Mjobo, saying that there were not enough police officers.

Cele said that the AGU did not have enough men and that the police were working hard at looking at other ways to curb crime in the province.

'Fear for our children'

Mjobo said while they were grateful that they have a police station in the area, there was still a shortage of police officers.

"We asked for a police station and received one, but it seems things are worse off now than before.

"We are calling on the ministry of police to increase the number of police officers as well as to introduce more foot patrols because our area is so crime-ridden. We fear for our children's lives," she added.

"Work is being done to increase the number of police officers," Cele said. "Measures have been put in place, particularly in the Western Cape, but as you can see, it's not enough."

'Moving target'

"We have been too narrow in our approach but going forward we will need to be broader. Crime is a moving target, so we need to be more intelligent in how we approach it and make sure we concentrate on preventing it [crime]."

The police minister was flanked by provincial police personnel, including provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula who admitted that recent crimes were "getting out of hand".

"We have now identified trends and patterns [of criminals] in order to apprehend them," commented Jula, referring to the recent spate of killings in the area.

When asked what the trends and patterns were, Cele answered by saying that there were instances where police had apprehended a suspect before he or she even committed a crime.

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