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'SA should help police fight crime'

Nathi Nhleko has called on the public to become custodians of their communities & help police fight crime.

FILE. Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has called on the public to become custodians of their communities & help police fight crime. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG - Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has called on all South Africans to become custodians of the communities they live in and help police rid their homes, schools and places of work of criminals.

The minister was speaking in Westbury on Thursday, outside the home of three-year-old Luke Tibbetts.

Tibbetts remains on life support in hospital after being shot in the head by a stray bullet while sitting on his mother's lap at the back of a vehicle transporting them on Saturday.

Police say they suspect those responsible for the shooting of the toddler may be members of rival gangs operating in the area.

Nhleko says the violent and criminal use of firearms is a growing problem in many communities, adding the biggest problem police have is changing the vicious behaviour that is emerging in society.

"It's the proliferation of weapons; gun specifically, in our society. It's something bigger than the police."

The minister says police will start paying more attention to areas like Westbury, where community members say gang related activity is a recurring problem.

Meanwhile, the family of a Westbury man charged with two counts of attempted murder in connection with the shooting of little Luke has raised concern about the second accused facing a lesser charge of pointing a firearm.

Keenan Mokwena appeared in the Newlands Magistrates Court on Thursday, where his case was postponed.

He will be back in court on the same day as Lindray Khakhu next week but their cases will be heard separately.

Family members of Khakhu, who was arrested on Sunday, say Mokwena fired the first shots and must take responsibility.

They claim Khakhu was not even armed on the day in question.

His sister Lindsey Campbell says, "When they're saying its crossfire, why aren't they charging with equal charges?"

Mokwena claims the bullet that wounded the three-year-old was meant for him.

He was wounded in the arm.