WATCH: DA, deputy police minister in tense stand-off over crime
News / 20 July 2018, 08:30am / Jason Felix and Marvin Charles
Cape Town - While police say they have arrested more than 90 000 perpetrators in the Western Cape, calls for the deployment of the army turned into a political football that ended in a tense stand-off between politicians in Nyanga.
Police Minister Bheki Cele announced at press briefing in the City on Thursday over 91 114 arrests had been made in 17 areas in the Cape Flats.
Police had arrested 48 for murder, 63 for attempted murder, 192 for robbery, 51 for sexual offences and 645 for assault.
“This operation has, at its core, a geographical and targeted approach focusing on dominating specific hot-spot areas and identified individuals,” Cele added.
Trauma Centre for Survivors of Violence and Torture director Valdi van Reenen-le Roux said the government was failing its citizens as the bodies piled up.
“The minister speaks of 91000 people arrested. How many of them will end up in jail or before a court?
“Bringing in the army won’t help because gangs will move away their resources and weapons.
“We need to relook at the juvenile and criminal justice system and dismantle the economic networks of gangs. Politicising this issue won’t help,” she added.
In Nyanga, the country’s murder capital, DA leader Mmusi Maimane led a march with several of the party’s provincial and national leaders.
“Our crime-stricken communities have been failed by the ANC nationwide, but we are gathered here in Cape Town today because the people of Philippi, Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain, Manenberg, Nyanga and many other neighbourhoods are suffering particularly badly.”
Maimane said he was not attacking the police service in Cape Town and acknowledged the good work which he said they had been doing under pressure.
“I’m not asking for the army to replace the police here. I’m not calling for the militarisation of our neighbourhoods. I’m talking about the temporary deployment of the army to supplement SAPS so that they can concentrate on investigating crimes and making arrests.
“There is no logical reason to refuse this. In fact, less than a year ago, the ANC government pledged to deploy the army to Cape Town’s worst gang and drug areas,” Maimane said.
He was, however, stopped from delivering a memorandum by Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi.
A tense stand-off ensued after Mkongi wanted to address supporters of the DA. He said the DA was spreading lies about the police which he wanted to refute.
"You are dividing our people. This rubbish of the DA must stop. I am not accepting this,” Mkongi told Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato.
When the DA’s march reached the Nyanga police station, there was a group protesting for housing. The groups were separated by police to prevent clashes.
“On the one side you have coloured people and on the other blacks. This is wrong. We’re deploying more police to the Cape Flats. Why do they want to politicise it?” he said .
When Maimane wanted to enter Nyanga police station, he was blocked by ANC supporters. “If he (Mkongi) wants to come and talk to me, he can come. Otherwise I will get him at Parliament,” Maimane said.