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Committee set up to tackle gang violence

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille met with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Thursday.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille met with Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Thursday.

CAPE TOWN - On Thursday a meeting between Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa about the high levels of gang violence in the province appeared to yield few results.

The latest suburb to be caught in the grip of the seemingly endless gang warfare is Manenberg, with calls from residents for the army to be deployed to restore peace.

Last week, the provincial education department decided to close all schools in the area for two days amid fears for the safety of learners and staff.

Schools were reopened on Monday after a decision announced at the weekend to divert six million rand from the education budget to the City of Cape Town for efforts to curb gang related violence.

Western Cape officials have also consistently called for the reinstatement of specialised gang and drug units, but Mthethwa told a media briefing on Thursday there are no such plans, adding that there cannot be a knee-jerk response to the problems in Manenberg.

Mthethwa insists that eradicating gangsterism requires a multi-disciplinary approach and that it can't be solved by policing alone.

The national government and its provincial counterpart have not always seen eye to eye on the issue of gang violence, but Zille told the media that the two sides have agreed to work together.

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille meanwhile has agreed to strengthen ties with the SAPS. In addition, a multi-governmental committee would meet weekly on issues affecting gang-riddled communities.