67 minutes in Lavender Hill

Helen Zille on neighbourhood watch patrol doing her 67 minutes for Mandela Day. Picture: Twitter via@njclelland
CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said President Jacob Zuma wants an assessment on the gang situation in Lavender Hill and Hanover Park.

He has asked the police and defence ministers to give him a report on the situation there, before making a decision on Zille's request to call in the troops.

Zille said while she acknowledges Zuma's prudence, the situation has reached crisis levels and any undue delays, could lead to even further loss of innocent lives.

At least 23 people, including seven children, have died in recent months in these and other gang hotspots.

Meanwhile, Zille said police must be given the space to investigate gang-related crimes.

She joined the Thunderbolt neighbourhood watch in Lavender Hill in the early hours of Wednesday morning for her 67 minutes commemorating the birthday of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
It was the first full patrol since the murder of watch member, Soraya Noordien a few weeks ago.
Eyewitness news asked Zille why she chose this particular activity to mark Mandela Day.

“They neighbourhood watch has been doing an amazing job here, that is why I wanted to show solidarity with the neighbourhood watch by walking with them. I thought it would be the best way of using my 67 minutes.”

The Steenberg Community Police Forum (CPF) Chairperson, Kevin Southgate said they are encouraged by Zille's interest in the plight of the community.

“We have addressed our concerns on a number of platforms but Zille has chosen to come out here and that is why we’ve given her our support. We’re also using this opportunity to re-integrate our neighbourhood watch structures with the additional police resources that have been deployed in the area, as a sign of our commitment towards fighting crime.”

Lavender hill has been plagued by gang-violence in recent months, but police said the last reported shooting was on the 8th of June.

(Edited by Tamsin Wort)