Cape Town - Police will be out in full force in Manenberg on election day, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa told residents of Cape Town's gang-plagued township on Thursday.
Mthethwa was joined by Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, State Security Minister Siyabonga Cwele, International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, and Correctional Services Minister Sibusiso Ndebele during a walkabout in Manenberg to assess readiness for the upcoming elections.
“We deploy as much police as possible to ensure safety as we prepare for elections,” he told residents at a local community centre.
“Part of the programme relates to drug abuse and gangsterism.”
Mthethwa and his fellow ministers were bombarded with questions from residents.
Joyce Stollies wanted to know why government only came to their area every five years on the eve of elections.
“We are not coming here because there's elections,” Mthethwa answered.
“We were here 1/8during the height of the gang shootings 3/8 and we deployed people.”
Stollies also asked why teenagers, used by gang bosses in the area to carry out shootings, were released hours after being arrested.
“The community has a right to petition or write to the magistrate if they think that somebody arrested does not deserve bail,” he said.
Members of the police's tactical response team and flying squad drove through the area during the walkabout. Mounted police officers were also visible earlier, a sight residents did not often see in Manenberg.
Stollies and others said this type of police presence was not normal for the area, even during the shootings.
The area has been relatively quiet over the past few months after a surge in gang shootings last year.