City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith and local councillor Angus McKenzie. Photo: Tamaryn Africa/ African News Agency (ANA)

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security, and social services JP Smith has called for a gang-related commission of inquiry into violence on the Cape Flats. 

Smith was commenting on Thursday after he and local ward councillor Angus McKenzie were chased away from a meeting with Police Minister Bheki Cele and Western Cape Total Shutdown Communities participants in Bonteheuwel the previous day.

Smith said the City supports the demands of the Total Shutdown movement, which include an end to gang violence in the area. However, Western Cape Total Shutdown Communities insists Tuesday's protests were not about gangsterism, crime and a lack of police officers but the deteriorating economic conditions of those living on the Cape Flats.

"It's time for us to do a gang-related commission of inquiry, it's high time to tackle this head-on. A commission of inquiry will shine a strong spotlight on exactly where the policing failures are – the same as we did in Khayelitsha," the SABC reported.

"I think it's time we release the SAPS watch groups because that is certainly due. Once you see the picture why the cases around gangsters fail, you will start to understand the institutional challenges."

The DA and City of Cape Town have hit back at the ANC and the national government, accusing Cele of “moral cowardice”, with Smith saying the organisers of the Total Shutdown movement have a “dishonest narrative” and accused its members of a political agenda.

“I condemn the moral cowardice by Cele. What happened (on Wednesday) was a sad situation. Democracy means that all voices must be heard and we were not afforded that at the meeting."