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JP Smith hits back at Brett Herron over open letter questioning recovered firearm

The City of Cape Town’s safety and security mayco member JP Smith. Picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

The City of Cape Town’s safety and security mayco member JP Smith. Picture:Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jun 28, 2022

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Cape Town - The City of Cape Town’s safety and security mayco member JP Smith has come out with guns blazing at GOOD Party’s general secretary Brett Herron over an open letter about the recent recovery of a firearm belonging to the City’s SIU.

Smith was responding to an open letter that Herron addressed to mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis demanding answers about the firearm and calling on Hill-Lewis to explain to citizens who and what he was defending.

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The Glock 9mm pistol was recovered in the ceiling of one of the City’s former SIU members, who committed suicide in December last year, after it was reported lost in March 2020, allegedly stolen from one of the members of the unit.

In his letter, Herron queried whether the firearm was used in any crimes and, if so, whether it must now be assumed that such crimes were committed by the deceased. He also queried whether the firearm was planted in the ceiling to implicate someone he said could not be held accountable or provide a defence.

Smith assured Herron that the facts regarding the loss of the firearm as well as the suicide of the staff member had no causal or legal connection to the ongoing legal case of the unit’s head, Reynold Talmakkies, despite Herron’s attempt to make that link.

Smith told Herron that it must be left to the police to investigate without bias or media speculation.

He said despite the number of firearms the SAPS lost, and for which oversight Herron was responsible for as a member of Parliament, not a single open letter Herron wrote addressed this.

“Your silence in the face of this SAPS failure, and your choice instead to target the efforts of the City to keep residents safer, is most revealing. In contrast, the City’s uniformed branches continue to do exemplary work in recovering many of these stolen police firearms from the hands of gangsters on the streets of Cape Town,” Smith said.

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He said the City would continue to do all it could to make Cape Town safer by actively and assertively expanding its policing powers, and pushing for the formal devolution of more of those powers away from the national government to the City.

“We know this is the right thing to do to better protect our residents, both from violent criminals and from a failing national state. In this effort we will not be deterred – not by criminals, and not by their sherpas in the ANC/ GOOD,” he said.

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