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Zille wants gang unit reinstated

Helen Zille says the Police Minister’s refusal to reinstate the gang unit is a slap in the face.

Helen Zille says the Police Minister’s refusal to reinstate the gang unit is a slap in the face. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Premier Helen Zille said on Tuesday Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's refusal to reinstate the South African Police Service (SAPS) Specialised Gang Unit in the province is a slap in the face for residents of gang-stricken areas.

A similar task team has been assembled in the Eastern Cape to deal with the gang problem in Port Elizabeth's northern areas which police say is working working.

Gang violence has wreaked havoc in areas such as Manenberg in recent weeks.

Schools were forced to shut their doors for two days last month due to the problem.

The premier questioned why police have acted in Port Elizabeth, but not in the Cape.

"It's a slap in the face for the people of the Western Cape. When the Police Minister won't take the most basic steps to protect people's safety and security, which is the fundamental starting point of government's responsibility to the people, one has to ask some questions about their fitness for office."

Meanwhile, National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega said on Wednesday dealing with the province's gang and drug problem must start with social upliftment.

"Police are capable and police are managing the Western Cape from a policing perspective. You will agree with me that issues of gangs and drugs require much more than just policing."