Crime conference tackles gang violence

A senior policeman believes community participation is essential in reducing gangsters' reach.

FILE: Gang violence is an issue in Delft, Mitchells Plain and Ravensmead. Picture: Mia Spies/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Gang violence has taken centre stage on the final day of the 35th Annual Crime Stoppers International Conference in Cape Town.

A senior policeman believes community participation is essential in reducing gangsters' reach.

Major-General Jeremy Vearey has been addressing delegates in the wake of what's believed to have been a hit on the mother of a crime-fighting colleague.

Vearey started the session with a moment's silence for the mother of an anti-gang unit police officer, who was murdered at her Manenberg home earlier this week.

He says community members have come forward with information relating to the apparent hit and all leads are being investigated.

Constable Lutfie Eksteen's relatives yesterday told Eyewitness News they feared for his life.

They believe Eksteen's mother was killed in order to intimidate him.

Eksteen is a member of Operation Combat, which mobilises communities against gangsters in an attempt to reduce the group's strong hold on neighbourhoods.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato has condemned the brutal attack.

He says this heinous attack cannot deter the South African Police Services (SAPS) to act against criminals, gang bosses and drug lords.

Plato's spokesperson, Ewald Botha says, "The MEC urges the community to work with the police to bring the offenders to task."

At the same time, wasteful and fruitless expenditure by the SAPS was addressed at the conference.

Parliament's Police Portfolio Committee has heard that R1 billion has been wasted over the last financial year, which is more than double the 2012/2013 figure.

The Auditor-General's office told Parliamentarians that more than R1 billion used by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) and Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA) had to be put down to fruitless and wasteful expenditure in 2013/2014.

Senior manager Surette Taljaard said some of the expenses included money used on traffic fines.

She says IPID also wasted money on a system that isn't being used.

In the 2012/2013 financial year, SAPS incurred R94 million worth of fruitless and wasteful expenditure.

That figure has skyrocketed to R658 million in the last financial year.

Combined with its two entities, that comes to R1 billion.