Police Minister Fikile Mbalula speaks to residents in Delft about gang violence in their area. Mbalula issued a warning to criminals in the Western Cape‚ following gang shootings in Cape Town which saw four people killed. Picture: Armand Hough/ANA Pictures
Cape Town - Western Cape police are hoping that a state-of-the-art operational command centre that was launched at the Mfuleni police station on Friday will improve their responses to priority crimes.

The Blue Downs Cluster Operational Command Centre was officially opened by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, and is the second of its kind in the country.

The first was opened in Port Elizabeth last year.

While the media were denied entry into the facility at Friday’s launch, Mbalula, accompanied by his deputy Bongani Mkongi, and acting national police commissioner Lieutenant- General Khomotso Phahlane, was given an official tour of the new command centre.

He said he was encouraged by the work done at the facility, as it showed “determination and resoluteness” in the fight against crime.

“We took the biggest operation of the launch of the command centre in the fight against crime in the Western Cape and that is the mission that will be undertaken in the context of the programme of the police of back to basics throughout the country.

“The operation command centres speak to the point of looking at areas that are (crime) infested and devising an integrated strategy to fight crime.”

Mbalula said he knew how the ravages of gangsterism in the province had destroyed communities. “It has brought terror to our people; it has killed the future of the youngsters.

“We have to ensure that our people are protected and ensure that society feels safe,” he said.

Phahlane added that the country remained under siege from criminals and gangs, necessitating the need for a central command centre to help in the fight against crime.

“Our mandate is very clear - preventing crime, combating crime and to enforce the law.

“Let us make sure the centre we are launching leaves a meaningful impression to the people that we will fight crime.”

The launch of the centre was followed by operations that saw police raid a house in Delft with Special Task Force, members with their faces covered, climbing over the walls of the house.

A second operation included a roadblock on Erica Drive where vehicles and drivers were checked.

The final operation in Wesbank saw a group of teenagers searched for weapons and drugs.

Plans are under way for the rollout of more command centres to other clusters across the country.

Weekend Argus