Cape Gang Epidemic needs Immediate action, Not delayed Considerations
Statement by Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety
Today marks one month since the National Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, publicly announced his commitment to consider bringing back the Specialised Drug and Gang Units within the South African Police Service (SAPS), yet despite the urgency with which these units are needed, we appear to be no closer to seeing their deployment.
I have requested the National Minister of Police, Nathi Nhleko, to provide a full briefing on the progress made to reinstall the specialised units across the country. Minister Nhleko needs to share what research prompted his decision to consider their return, how these units will be trained, capacitated and where and when they will be deployed. The people of the Western Cape want to know why it has taken more than 4 years of campaigning and the loss of countless lives before the national government has even considered the introduction of these much needed specialised gang units.
We should be seeing a far more urgent approach to tackling the Cape gang epidemic after more than 500 gang related murders occurred in one year in this province, and with the National Police Minister making comments such as -
“The fact that we have moved from being a transit country for drugs to the manufacturer and high consumer calls for us to take action to stem the tide. In this regard, it is time for us to consider bringing back specialized units like the drug unit and others to respond to the sophisticated nature of crime that we now have to deal with. We have heard the call for the re-introduction of these units and because we are not deaf nor blind to the destruction that crime is bringing to our communities, we think that the time is right for such policy decisions to be taken. The nature of crime has become more specialized and advanced and our response thereof should be on above the criminals.”
The Specialised Units, including the Gang and Drug units, are of crucial importance to tackle the scourge of drug and gangs especially in our communities in the Western Cape. At least five people were murdered this past weekend in Parkwood and Bishop Lavis alone.
This situation is beyond crisis level and cannot continue without intervention.
It is absolutely necessary for the Western Cape Government to know the time frame of implementation regarding the deployment of these units as every day the implementation of the Gang and Drug units are delayed is another day the senseless killings continue.
In the last financial year, almost a quarter (24%) of murders and attempted murders in the province were gang related, with 311 innocent bystanders losing their lives as a result of gang related violence in this province.
We need the Specialised Gang and Drug Units which can deliver conviction ready court cases for our communities to be rid of the criminals responsible. In the past three years, the more than 3100 gang related murders (950) and attempted murders (2207) only related into a total 85 successful prosecutions. Less than 3% of cases led to conviction in the last three years.
The safety of our communities cannot play second fiddle to empty political promises. Minister Nhleko now needs to deliver on the implementation of the specialised units as promised before more lives are lost.
Spokesperson for Minister Plato
Cell: 079 694 1113