Reinstatement of Specialised Gang and Drug Units to be Raised at MINMEC Meeting
Media Statement by Dan Plato, Minister of Community Safety
Four people were shot in Elsie's River this week and another two in Athlone were seriously injured or killed. Last week, a three-year-old child was shot dead. These are just some of the suspected gang-related shootings over the past week. This Friday, 16 March 2012, I will be attending the quarterly MINMEC meeting, and will, as a matter of urgency, be raising the issue of reinstating the specialised drug and gang units in the Western Cape.
It has become evident through compiling the policing needs and priorities of this province that there is an urgent need to tackle drug crimes and gang violence. Specialised drug and gang units are an effective way to combat the plague that is infecting our communities.
How much longer must the residents of Elsie's River wait at night, hiding under their beds for fear of gunshots raining over their houses? How much longer must the residents of Lavender Hill and Hanover Park wait for the fragile peace treaty to be broken and violence to once again erupt on their streets? There has also been an increase in gang violence in areas not previously known for gang violence, like Khayelitsha.
Specialised gang and drug units would be able to take advantage of the current peace treaty, arrest the spread of gangsterism into new areas and would strengthen the efforts of our police, who, while trying their utmost to protect our citizens, are fighting a losing battle. The Western Cape Police Commissioner, General Arno Lamoer, has said that the R12 billion worth of drugs confiscated over the past 22 months is "just the tip of the iceberg".
General Lamoer recently said that violent crime and gangsterism are fuelled by drugs and that "if we can stop the drugs, crime will come down radically and people will be safe".
I'll say it again - the best way to make the people of the Western Cape safe from drugs and gangs is through targeted, sustained and specialised interventions. It is well known that drugs are the lifeblood of gangs. Specialised units have been identified as a policing need and priority for the Western Cape by Cabinet and are necessary if we are to tackle drugs and gangs effectively.
As long as the people of the Western Cape are prey to drugs and gangs, I will continue to raise this matter on every platform available to me.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 076 832 5505