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Lamoer: Gang violence not just about crime

Top WC cop says police need the community's help to fight gangsterism.

File: Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer says police need the community's help to fight gangsterism. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer admits more can be done to stop gang violence in the province but says there needs to be community participation to solve the problem.

There have been a series of suspected gang-related shootings in the province in recent weeks.

Last week the violence spilled over into an Athlone school.

Spes Bona High School pupil Glenrico Martin was shot in the head in what is believed to be a gang-related attack. Three men stormed into the school and shot Martin. The 19-year-old died later in Groote Schuur Hospital.

The police commissioner says Operation Combat has made several breakthroughs.

"Two senior gang members who were out on parole are back in prison for parole violations. That is what our investigators, intelligence officers and visible policing members pick up on a day-to-day basis."

Lamoer says it's "sad" that only gang-related crimes are receiving wider attention, while there have been other incidents reported.

"It's sad that we're only focusing on one type of incident in the Western Cape or the country. There are people killed on a daily basis. Over the weekend, in one specific 24-hour period, 19 people were killed and only two of those were gang-related."

The top cop says to fight gangsterism the people living in societies affected by it need to be uplifted.

A Mitchells Plain man was gunned down in a suspected gang shooting on Saturday, while a 22-year-old man was taken to hospital after he was shot several times by an unknown man in Kraaifontein on the same day.

Earlier this month, the Western Cape Community Policing Board said it was concerned about a fresh outbreak of gang violence in some Cape Town communities.

The board said it believed the drug trade was at the heart of the matter.

The Delft Community Policing Forum said residents were afraid to leave their homes.

In recent weeks, a number of people have been shot dead in Delft, Mitchells Plain, Kraaifontein and Elsies River.