'Of 63 gang-related murders in SA, 59 were in the Western Cape'
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Cape Town - Gangsterism has been a major cause of contact crime, according to the quarterly crime statistics, with the highest number of gang-related incidents occurring in the Western Cape.
The statistics, released last week, indicated that 59 cases of gang-related murders took place in the province, followed by the Eastern Cape and Free State with two such cases each.
The statistics showed gang-related cases accounted for 63 murders, 59 attempted murders and nine cases of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the provincial government was considering a number of programmes to prevent violence in society.
He said the step was essential in the fight against gangsterism and in addressing the culture of violence which permeated every facet of life in the province.
He said gangs and gangsterism plagued the Western Cape, more so than in other provinces.
“Based on a docket analysis conducted by the police, in the cases where the circumstances of murder were known, it is reported that of the 63 gang-related murders in the country, 59 were in the Western Cape,” Fritz said.
He said through monitoring the forensic data, the department was made aware of the extent of firearm-related murders during the lockdown period. Firearm-related offences decreased by 25% in the province and by 21% nationally in this period.
According to the statistics, the murder rate nationally decreased by 35.8% from the previous year. In the Western Cape, the number of cases of murder in the first quarter of 2020/2021 was the lowest reported in five years in this quarter. The statistics showed that during this period, 767 murders were committed, a figure 27.4% lower than in the same period last year (1056).
Attempted murder cases declined by 7.8% (858 cases), which again was the lowest figure in five years.
Nationally, attempted murder cases declined by 23.8%.
Of the top 30 stations reporting the highest incidences of murder, 14 precincts (46.6%) were in the Western Cape and accounted for 55.8% (428 out of 767) of murders in the province. Of the 14, 13 were in the Cape Flats, in Mfuleni, Manenberg, Elsies River, Bishop Lavis, Lentegeur, Gugulethu, Mitchells Plain, Ravensmead, Harare, Nyanga, Delft, Khayelitsha and Philippi East.
Bonteheuwel ward councillor Angus McKenzie said shootings had reduced drastically in Bonteheuwel. However, he said in terms of gang-related murders, numbers had been driven down by visible law enforcement and community participation.
McKenzie said he had noticed in statistics that Bonteheuwel was no longer in the top 30 areas regarding gang violence. “That is a huge win for our community,” he said.
Grassy Park Community Police Forum chairperson Melvin Jonkers said shootings continued unabated on almost a daily basis in Parkwood Estate. He said the police had to do everything in their power to curb violence and gangsterism and prevent the death of innocent children. He said children were constantly injured and killed in cross-fire.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said police attached to the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) continued with their efforts to reduce violence associated with gangsterism. Five suspects were due to appear in court in Mitchells Plain following their arrest in an intelligence-driven operation by the AGU.