Police Minister Bheki Cele Photo: Facebook

Police Minister Bheki Cele will meet Western Cape Total Shutdown Communities (WCTSC) leaders again next week to discuss their concerns about the economic system, which they say is to blame, among others, for the high levels of poverty, crime and gangsterism.

Cele met Bonteheuwel residents and WCTSC leaders on Wednesday subsequent to the Total Shutdown protests. Emotions ran high at the meeting when residents chased away Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith and local ward councillor Angus McKenzie from the venue.

The minister would not engage them before Smith and McKenzie agreed to leave the meeting.

Commenting on Smith and McKenzie being ejected from the meeting, Gatto Wanza of WCTSC told the Cape Times on Thursday the "DA is guilty of continuing the old apartheid way of governance, of thinking they control the way we think, the way we do things, and we are tired of that. The old apartheid way of doing things must come to an end and we the people must come together".

Wanza said it was a fruitful meeting with Cele. "We have a plan and we will be meeting with the minister again on October 3 and sit down and share the plan. 

"The meeting will not be about crime and gangsterism, but about the economic system that is not working for us. We need to redevelop the economic system from the grass-roots level."

Wanza said Cele will be talking to his colleagues in the cabinet in the meantime and seeing as "there is only one government", feels the police minister will be able to their case forward.

On Wednesday, the police minister was shown a video of the protest, where eight people from Bonteheuwel were arrested, with the police resorting to firing stun grenades and rubber bullets. In total, 24 people were arrested across the city, with only one person, who had his case dismissed, appearing in court on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Cele acknowledged more police officers needed to be assigned to the Western Cape, but that there was a shortage nationally, the SABC reported.

“The issue of the shortage of police personnel in the Western Cape is a national issue, it is not them only. Thus far we have pulled people from other provinces to increase the numbers in that area.

"We agree, we're working on numbers of people we're going to send on training. We are not going to give the number now, which is more than a thousand people, and those people will be trained for Cape Town.”

The Cape Argus reported that Henriette Abraham of WCTSC called on Cele on Wednesday to spend time in Bonteheuwel and use public transport without bodyguards, “to see how the community lives”.

“Every day we are robbed on our way to work; our children are being manhandled by gangsters on their way to school because they want them to join gangs,” said Abrahams.

Abraham's community depended on a satellite police station that closed before midnight.