Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele has not responded to a 48-hour ultimatum to come up with a definitive plan to address escalating gang violence in Cape Flats communities.
The ultimatum was made on Thursday by the Mitchells Plain cluster Community Policing Forum (CPF) who will now meet this morning at Athlone Police Station hall to decide on their plan of action.
The cluster represents Grassy Park, Steenberg, Philippi, Mitchells Plain, Strandfontein, Lansdowne, Lentegeur, Hanover Park and Athlone police stations where most gang-related murders occur.
Cluster chair Lucinda Evans would not be drawn on the plan of action but Thursday’s meeting threatened “strategic action” at the offices of the Western Cape Police Services in Cape Town.
CPF members met after several gang-related shootings on the Cape Flats including Monday’s slaying of a police officer in Lavender Hill while pursuing suspects.
At the meeting, Evans called for “emergency stabilisation” including army deployment to assist under-resourced police combat multiple flare-ups between gangs.
“What we are saying to the national minister, you send the deployment of law enforcement resources accompanied by the SANDF,” said Evans.
The veteran Lavender Hill activist was disappointed by Cele’s lack of response by the time 48-hour deadline yesterday afternoon.
“Our request is not unreasonable. All we want is peace in our homes and peace in our communities.
“We want our children to play, just play in peace.”
In a Facebook post yesterday, Evans said all she wanted was to say good morning without it being drowned out by the sound of gunshots.
She denied a political agenda.
“Let me assure you that the citizens, the patriots the people only wish to wake up with sounds other than gunshots is the agenda.”
Cele’s no-show follows his failure to heed a December Western Cape Equality Court ruling that national government was discriminating against poor and black Western Cape residents in how it allocates police resources.
Cele indicated in a radio interview that he would appeal the finding but has since not done so.
The application was made in response to a March 2016 application by the Social Justice Coalition, Nyanga CPF and Equal Education to compel the SAPS to remedy the manner in which it allocated police officers to police stations.
This week, the release of mortuary statistics claimed 900 people have been murdered in gang violence on the Cape Flats since January, while the total murder death toll stood at 1600.
At a crisis meeting of law enforcement officers this week, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz called it the worst year in history.