Police Minister Bheki Cele has met the Western Cape Community Policing Forum's board to discuss ways to address the spike in gang violence. Picture: Phando/Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele has met the Western Cape Community Policing Forum's board to discuss ways to address the spike in gang violence in various areas.

The provincial acting chairperson of the CPF board, Fransina Lukas, said Cele heard their cry and met with them after the Mitchells Plains community policing forum cluster last week gave him 48 hours to come up with a plan to curb gang violence in their areas and called for the placing of the Western Cape Police Service under administration.

Lukas said the gathering was positive and Cele vowed to allocate resources and monitor their areas. She said another matter was that the resources should be effectively used.

She said they also wanted a community-based approach to deal with the gang violence and crime. 

“Not that we want the army, but a force multiplier to help our communities,” she said.

Premier Alan Winde said several community policing forums are on the ground each day and face the day-to-day reality of protecting their communities against violence. They have called for the deployment of the SANDF to tackle the recent spike in gang violence on the Cape Flats.

Winde said turf wars and gun battles take place on the streets of these communities on a daily basis, with innocent residents, some of whom are children, getting caught in the crossfire. People live in fear of their lives.

He said that in other areas of “our province, rural and farming communities experience similar fear”.

“The crime situation in the Western Cape requires an urgent intervention. Due to massive under-resourcing, our police officers are being stretched thin. With too few officers and a lack of crime intelligence, police officers themselves are coming under attack from brazen criminals,” Winde said.

The deployment of the army as peacekeepers in the communities would act as an additional tool in their line of defence against criminals “to add to the police, community police forums, and neighbourhood watches. Any move that seeks to take back the power from gangsters and criminals and which puts more boots on the ground should be considered and supported”.

Winde said Cele claimed that SANDF troops were not trained to deal with civilians. “I've also noted messaging by SANDF top brass that crime prevention is not part of the SANDF’s training. However, the SANDF have on other occasions been deployed around the country in support of the police.”

He said the deployment of the army on the Cape Flats would free police to do work that would help put gang leaders, drug dealers, murderers and other criminals behind bars.

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Cape Argus