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Politicians urged to put differences aside, tackle gang violence in CT

Several Cape Town community workers say that politicians need to put their differences aside to tackle gang violence in the Western Cape.

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 - Several Cape Town community workers say that politicians need to put their differences aside to tackle gang violence in the Western Cape.

Police Minister Bheki Cele has spoken of the successes of the Anti-Gang Unit and Operation Thunder since they were introduced last year

But Community Safety MEC Alan Winde claimed that the province's murder rate "remains alarmingly high" despite the interventions and he's repeated the Democratic Alliances' call for a provincial police service.

While Cele might be chuffed with the work the Anti-Gang Unit, not everyone is convinced.

He said: "I want to believe that if the Anti-Gang Unit and Operation Thunder were not formed, the situation would've been worse."

But, Manenberg community worker Roegshanda Pascoe said that she hasn't seen a major difference in the frequency gang-related shootings in the area.

"We must come up with a better plan, and I'm prepared to sit along the table to start that strategy and put that plan together."

Lentegeur community policing forum chairperson Byron de Villiers said although the unit has helped in the fight against gangsterism, politicking should be put aside.

"Let the politicians do what they do, make promises to the people, while the people suffer because of their promises and lies. In terms of the Anti-Gang Unit, we have had quite a few successes."

A delegation of police officers from Chicago are in the city to share their crime-fighting expertise with their Cape Town counterparts.

It's part of a partnership involving the United States Consulate.

Chicago deputy police chief Eric Carter said: “We have the same crime issues; it’s a myriad of parallels across a lot of issues. We see similarities in Cape Town as we do in Chicago. Not so long ago, we were considered the murder capital of the US with high crime rates in the late 90s.”

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