For months, communities have appealed for the re-establishment of a police unit to root out drug lords and bring an end to their reign of terror.
Sydenham community policing forum spokesperson Satish Dhupelia said he had been inundated with calls from residents following a series of shootings in recent weeks.
He said residents were concerned about a shooting that took place in Cowies Hill, west of Durban, last week, which was apparently linked to a murder in Sydenham at the beginning of the month.
Chadley Thring was shot dead outside a shop in Barns Road. A week later, Thring’s relative and another man - both Sydenham residents - were the targets of a drive-by shooting in Cowies Hill. Both survived the incident.
“On Monday, someone had driven around Harris Crescent. We found six bullet shells and handed them over to police. Residents are concerned that we could have another out of control situation on our hands. They fear that there is a breakdown of law and order. We need to take their concerns seriously,” he said.
In September last year, Sydenham Heights residents were exposed to running gun battles between members of a drug cartel.
When police intervened, they came under fire.
Dhupelia said police had agreed to step up patrols in hot spot areas. He welcome comments made by KwaZulu-Natal police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula to intensify police operations around known high risk areas.
In Wentworth, a man was murdered and his girlfriend seriously wounded after a shooter opened fire on them while they were asleep. It was believed that the shooting was also gang related.
The south Durban suburb has seen murders, as a result of stabbings and shootings, taking place almost every weekend.
DA police spokesperson Andrew Whitfield called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to clarify his decision to elevate the anti-gang unit to a national level, specifically how this would assist in the fight against gang violence.
Police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe said the formation of the anti-gang unit was in the process of being implemented in KZN. She said the unit would address the issues of gangsterism across the country.
“Their mandate will be to deal with more community crimes and the implementation in all provinces will take place in a phased approach. The unit will be elevated from the Western Cape to a national level.”