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MEC wants gang strategy rethink

WC Community Safety MEC calls for a change in strategy when dealing with Cape gangs.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has called for a different game plan to deal with ongoing gang violence in the province.

On Sunday, the chairperson of an outreach programme dealing with reformed gangsters was shot and wounded after leaving a church in Sacks Circle, Bellville South.

Ivan Waldeck's wife was wounded as well when gunmen opened fire on their car.

The incident comes more than a month after pastor Albern Martins was shot dead outside the Blue Downs Magistrate's Court.

Martins was also involved with the Western Cape Community Outreach programme.

The MEC has bemoaned the ongoing violence that's plaguing some Cape Town communities.

At least 11people were shot dead during the first week of May.

Five were shot in Delft, four in Connaught Estate and Elsies River while two were killed in Kraaifontein.

During the same period gunmen also wounded the brother of an alleged gang boss in a shooting in Belhar.

Plato said it's clear that the police simply cannot cope.

"They disbanded the specialised units, gang unit and drug unit. We are asking for these units to be reinstated because it's clear to me that the police currently cannot contain the situation. As far as I'm concerned it is getting out of hand."

Plato added it was time for a different strategy from law enforcement.

"I think Cape flats residents are unhappy with the current situation where gangs are running amok in our communities, where they kill people left, right and centre and at the end of the day the long arm of the law cannot catch up with them."

In 2012, the Western Cape government sought national intervention through the deployment of the South African National Defence Force in gang hotspots, but the request was denied.