Mayor Dan Plato's pre-budget media briefing with Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith. Picture: City of Cape Town/Supplied

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town on Monday said it was doing its utmost to assist the South African Police Service in curbing the apparent flare-up in gang violence in a number of suburbs around the city.

Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said the city’s Law Enforcement Department and Neighbourhood Safety Team were lending assistance to the Saps with numerous operations in Delft.

He said the city has already moved more staff to work overnight shifts, as that was when the violence was prevalent.

“Information at hand suggests the conflict in Blikkiesdorp was sparked by a gang member ejected from the area, who is trying to fight his way back in. In Hanover Park, we are assisted by ShotSpotter technology, although the shooting incidents have no pattern to them, making it difficult to deploy resources effectively,” Smith said.

He said the city has requested that the police's Crime Intelligence Division help to stem the violence, which appears to be caused by a turf war between gangs. 

Data showed that bigger caliber weapons were being used in addition to handguns and that there were elements within the taxi industry who were involved now too, Smith said. A taxi was torched last week. 

“The situation in Manenberg has stabilized, which has allowed the Metro Police Gang and Drug Task Team to focus on Hanover Park. Bonteheuwel and Lavender Hill are also presenting challenges that require attention,” he said.

“However, the City’s Metro Police Department simply does not have enough boots on the ground to sustain interventions to the extent that Saps are required to by law. The situation will improve in the coming months courtesy of additional resources, but it will still take a while before these new officers complete their training,” added Smith.

Further interventions included adjusting shifts and deployments to respond to the pattern of late-night violence, redeploying staff over soft borders from other areas and ongoing engagement with Saps to see how and where the city could assist.

“We are investing more funding into our safety and security directorate, but this will be futile unless Saps too starts addressing its resource challenges. The intergovernmental dispute around the level of resourcing within Saps is a matter that needs to be resolved urgently if we are to make any meaningful impact in the areas worst affected by crime,” Smith said.

He further called on the community to assist both the city and Saps by reporting any incidents as they happen, or by sharing any intelligence that could lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the shooting incidents and the confiscation of the firearms involved.

African News Agency