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Police Minister Bheki Cele says he's tired of fighting political wars while people suffer

Minister of Police Bheki Cele addressing the residents in Khayelitsha, where he hosted his street izimbizo. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Minister of Police Bheki Cele addressing the residents in Khayelitsha, where he hosted his street izimbizo. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 18, 2022


Cape Town - Residents of Khayelitsha and Manenberg have complained to Police Minister Bheki Cele about the lack of policing in their communities, saying that seeing dead bodies was becoming a norm in their areas.

Cele and top cops in the province visited the two communities on Thursday to host street izimbizos in an effort to find a policing way forward following gang-related killings.

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Violence claimed the lives of 10 people in Manenberg in the past week, and there were multiple murders in Khayelitsha, including five people who were gunned down in the Endlovini informal settlement on Monday.

One of the community leaders in Khayelitsha, Sinetemba Mtini, said that criminals from outside dump victims’ bodies in their community because there were no street lights.

Mtini said one of the challenges involved lack of visibility from the police.

“We always call the police, but they never arrive.”

Mzingaye Manqina said it was hard to live in their area. He said criminals were constantly knocking on their doors at night and assaulting them, to the point that it was difficult to even go to the toilets.

This as the police manhunt was under way to find the alleged gunmen and bring them all to book.

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Cele said the worst part of the Khayelitsha killings was that those criminals killed an innocent woman who was with her boyfriend at the time.

“This is clear that we are hunting animals, not people; these killers are not people, they are animals,” Cele said, as he promised the community that he would come back at night to patrol the area.

He said the aim of the community engagements was to strengthen the working relations between the police and community members, who remained an integral part in the overall fight against crime.

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Cele said he was tired of fighting political wars while people were suffering.

“The time has arrived to look and protect and work for the people and put aside politics. We need to work with local, provincial and national governments.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele engaging the communities of Khayelitsha following a spate of deadly shootings in Manenberg and Khayelitsha this week. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Premier Alan Winde said: “As a provincial government we believe that taking a united stand against crime, which includes all levels of government, business, and civil society, is needed to improve safety in our province. This is the whole-of-society approach that we always talk about.”

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Winde said safety was at the very core of the Western Cape Safety Plan which aimed to halve the murder rate by 2029 through a combination of law enforcement and violence prevention initiatives.

Advocacy group Action Society spokesperson Ian Cameron said Cele’s street imbizo was a sugar-coated acknowledgement of incompetence.

“An imbizo means nothing if the police are not restructured, trained and well-resourced in these incredibly dangerous areas,” Cameron said.

Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis, said: “So to receive the news of these murders now was a really heavy blow. We just have to keep on investing, expanding our policing resources and powers, and working better with local SAPS officers who are not to blame for the collapse of that organisation at a national level.”

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Cape Argus

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SAPSCrime and courts