Major-general Jeremy Vearey.

Zara Nicholson

Metro Writer


POLICE generals will be taking on the gang generals in a new, concerted campaign to curb the power of gangsterism, Western Cape police say.

Operation Combat will kick off with a team of high-ranking policemen and the expertise to fight the gang war which will see “generals taking on generals”.

The big names behind the gangs will be pursued.

Major-general Jeremy Vearey who is in charge of special operations for gangs said yesterday that this was the first time that generals had been assigned to fight the gang problem.

“This will involve focused crime intelligence and specialised gang investigation expertise. This is generals taking on generals who have the experience on street level to combat and take them down,” Vearey said.

He said previously police’s operations were very broad and reactive.

“This time we concentrate on a name, we will concentrate on that person 24 hours a day, it’s relentless and consistent,” he said.

One of the most notorious gangs in the city and prisons, the 28s have been operating for 200 years with police achieving little success while more gangs built their stature over the years and gang wars mostly claiming innocent lives.

Last year alone several children were killed in a gang war in Hanover Park. In a 10-week period, 11 people were killed.

Vearey said a recently formed Operation Combat would tackle high flyers and corrupt policemen.

Apart from patrolling areas where gangs were active, the operation team would tackle complex cases with investigators from all stations and focus on preventing police corruption.

“With corruption it does not stop with the prosecution of officials. We will target corrupt police the same way we target the gangs,” Vearey said.

In July last year Vearey and a police team disrupted a public meeting between members of gangs who had been involved in gang wars and were meant to apologise to the Hanover Park community and publicly call a truce.

Asked why he did not support peace agreements, Vearey said: “The Organised Crime Act prohibits the existence of gangs. Our experience with these meetings and why they fail is that they do not sustain the peace.“

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