WC better off since launch of anti-gang unit, Operation Thunder - Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele said the situation in the province would have been worse without the unit and Operation Thunder.

FILE: Police Minister Bheki Cele visits Bokmakierie in Athlone on 15 January 2019 where 6-year-old Brionay Daniels was caught in gang crossfire. Picture: @SAPoliceService/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Bheki Cele says the Western Cape is better off thanks to the introduction of Operation Thunder and the police’s anti-gang unit.

Operation Thunder, through which members of specialised units were deployed to various areas across Cape Town, was introduced last year, along with the anti-gang unit.

Cele says while there was still a lot of work to be done, there had been progress.

“We would also concede as the South African police that we have not reached the level where we want to be, where there are no gangsters killing. We haven’t reached that yet, but we’re walking there.”

Cele said the situation in the province would have been worse without these two initiatives.

“If you ask me was it a good thing to form the anti-gang unit, has it done something better? My answer is simple on that one, yes.”

However, provincial Community Safety MEC Alan Winde claims the province's murder rate "continues to be alarmingly high" despite Cele stating the interventions are "yielding success".

Cele said the unit was permanent and needed to be resourced financially and with equipment and personnel going forward.

“But it’s not just a Western Cape issue, we’ll be moving to other areas where there are (gangsters).”