Cape Town - The Service and Allied Workers Union of South Africa (SAWUSA) says it will "with immediate effect" embark on anti-crime campaigns to counter the rising number of murders linked to gangsters in Cape Town.
The union said it "notes with concern" the crime stats that indicate that in the past six months about 2,000 people were murdered on the streets of the Cape Flats. Police are on record as saying there are as many as 150 known gangs operating in the city.
Earlier this month, on Thursday 6 June and in the early hours of the next day gang violence broke out in at least three Cape Flats communities that saw 14 teens, all affiliated with gangs, lose their lives.
In follow up operations by the authorities six policemen from the Anti-Gang Unit were shot at and injured as they tracked suspects in the Samora Machel area in Cape Town. At least one suspect has been apprehended by police in connection with the shooting incident.
SAWUSA, which was launched last month, said it was "deeply concerned" with the escalation in wanton acts of crime and violence that has culminated in the callous murder of young people, especially among the working class communities on the Cape Flats.
"SAWUSA will, with immediate effect, embark on, and spearhead a series of anti-crime campaigns involving all sectors of our society through the creation of awareness crusades including the convening of an inter-faith forum to address the challenges confronting the working class on the Cape Flats," said Samantha Cloete, the general secretary of the union at the weekend.
The union said it was well aware that Cape Town remains one of the most unequal societies in the world.
"As SAWUSA we acknowledge the fact that faith-based organisations has always been involved in the transformation of society, especially as it has a history of siding with the poor and oppressed," said Cloete.
"We believe the need exists to sustain this mission responsibility and call on our faith based leaders to continue to embrace, engage and continue with the task of being an agent for transformation and change in our challenged societies.
"We call upon all faith-based leaders to fulfill the gospel imperative of making the Cape Flats and South Africa in general, a better place for all to live in with justice, peace and harmony."
The union said about 300 people were murdered in the Cape Town in May. SAWUSA said this high murder rate requires immediate intervention by all sectors of our society including the formations of working class organisations.
SAWUSA said it "observes" that the relentless, brutal murder of "our young people on the streets of Cape Town, attributed to acts of gangsterism and drug trade turf wars, seems to go on unabated with no end in sight".
"We call on all sectors of society to join SAWUSA and say no to crime and violence in our communities," said Cloete.
African News Agency (ANA)