Zille vs Mthethwa over Cape gangs

Helen Zille and the Police minister go head to head this week to discuss gang violence.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. Picture: Catherine Rice/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille is expected to go head-to-head with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa in a meeting regarding the province's gang problem this week.

The two are set to meet on Thursday.

Zille has on many occasions described the ongoing gang violence in some Cape Town areas as a crisis.

In an open letter to Mthethwa last week she requested the army be deployed to Manenberg, one of the areas worst affected by gangsterism.

Zille said this week's meeting was critical.

"The police have their functions, the metro has its functions, the province has its functions and that cooperative governance is not working. Policing is a power of the national government and until that works optimally, we cannot beat gang violence."

The premier, the provincial government and the City of Cape Town have outlined a joint intervention plan in a bid to address the problem.


The Western Cape Education Department has donated R6 million to the City of Cape Town in a bid to help curb gangsterism in the province.

This forms part of a joint plan to address high levels of violence in some gang-infested areas.

Over the next two weeks, 71 additional law enforcement officials will be deployed to the Manenberg area to ensure school children and teachers are safe before, during and after school.

The city's JP Smith said, "We've taken staff away from other services in the rest of the city to help stabilise the situation in Manenberg so that the schools can reopen. The bulk of that cost is being born by the Department of Education."

Meanwhile, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said Manenberg residents have blamed the surge in gang violence to the release of former gangster Rashied Staggie.

"After speaking to a lot of the people it's clear he still has a following in Manenberg. Talk on the ground suggest that Staggie wants his power base back."

Staggie has been in prison for a decade after being found guilty of kidnapping and raping a 17-year-old girl in 2001.

He was sentenced to 15 years in prison. In May 2004, Staggie was sentenced to 13 years in prison for a burglary at the Faure police armoury.


Last week, 14 schools in the area were closed on Thursday and Friday because teachers and learners feared for their safety due to ongoing shootings.

But on Sunday Zille said the schools would reopen on Monday.

"After having discussions with the affected educators from 12 schools in Manenberg, the city and the province has worked out together with the schools and with the SAPS an intensified plan to ensure the safety of the Manenberg community."

Around 50 people have either been wounded or killed in Manenberg in recent weeks.