DA Police spokesperson Zakhele Mbhele, Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith, DA Premier candidate Alan Winde, and DA ward councillor Angus Mckenzie addresses the media on the recent Shutdown protest, the SAPS response and the engagement Police Minister Cele held in Bonteheuwel. Pictures: Brendan Magaar /African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The DA lashed out at the residents who forced mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith and councillor Angus McKenzie to leave a rowdy meeting in Bonteheuwel between the community and Police Minister Bheki Cele, calling their action “cheap politics”.

On Thursday, the party said the province was severely affected by crime and was experiencing a shortage of police resources.

“The DA wishes to condemn the cheap politics that was on display in the Bonteheuwel meeting called by Minister Bheki Cele and (which was attended by) the organisers of the shutdown protests,” said Smith.

“A group of persons, some of whose political affiliation with, and links to the ANC and Cosatu, are well-known, entered the hall late and then demanded the exclusion of myself and councillor Angus Mckenzie.”

The meeting the two were chased from was called after Tuesday’s Total Shutdown protest, during which residents from a number of gang-ridden suburbs took to the streets in protest against gangsterism, crime and police inefficiency. Cele’s delegation included Major-General Jeremy Vearey, and Smith and McKenzie.

“We were invited by the police on behalf of the national minister.

“Strangely, Cele at first denied this, and after being confronted with the email (requesting them to attend) acknowledged the invitation. He then asked myself and McKenzie to leave the meeting; this exposes the meeting’s political agenda. Make no mistake, the shutdown group is politically motivated, and it was clear the shutdown protesters do not represent these communities, which is why they could only muster 450 protesters.

“The genuine plight of communities plagued by crime is being hijacked by these political fronts,” said Smith.

McKenzie denied he was not welcome in Bonteheuwel, the constituency he represents.

“I don’t know of any issues between myself and the community. I won the vote in the community because 90% of the people voted for me,” he said.

MEC of Community Safety Dan Plato also condemned Smith and McKenzie’s eviction from the meeting.

“I say to communities, let’s stop politicising the fight against crime,” he said.

Vuyiso Tyhalisis, regional secretary in the ANC’s Dullah Omar region, which includes Bonteheuwel, said: “The DA has consistently failed to respond to the continued pleas from the Cape Flats to address safety issues and fight gang-related crime.”

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