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Cele, WC govt to meet over policing after province declares dispute

The provincial government has declared a formal dispute with Minister Cele over a shortage of officers.

FILE: Minister of Police Bheki Cele. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Bheki Cele is to meet with Western Cape government officials within the next month to discuss failures relating to policing in the province.

The provincial government has declared a formal dispute with Cele over a shortage of officers.

Community Safety MEC Alan Winde said that his department has offered to help to address the issue.

“We have 84,000 staff in the province. We said we’d make our provincial staff available as volunteers in police stations so that we can relieve pressure on policemen and women. There’s been no willingness or answer to make this a safer province.”

The Police Ministry's Reneilwe Serero has responded to the MEC’s remarks.

“The Police Ministry will issue a statement in due course in response to the comments made by MEC Winde that will talk to the crime prevention measures put in place in the Western Cape, to ensure the citizens of the Western Cape feel safe.”

DEADLY

Last year officials revealed that police stations in the Western Cape continue to be burdened with the most murder investigations in South Africa.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and Police Commissioner Khehla Sitole in September released the 2017/18 crime figures. According to the research, the national murder rate had increased by almost 7%, which translated to 57 murders a day.

Detectives in Nyanga investigated 308 murders a year on average. This was 27 more than the previous financial year.

Kraaifontein recorded the biggest jump with a staggering 31% increase in murders. The stats also showed how almost all gang-related murders in South Africa were recorded in the Western Cape.

ANTI-GANG UNIT

Following ongoing violence by gangs in the province, officials deployed an anti-gang unit to gang-plagued communities.

The unit was formed in November 2018 to address rapidly rising organised crime rates in four provinces.

Members of the unit have been sent to patrol hot spots in neighbourhoods in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, as well as in Gauteng and the Free State.

The anti-gang unit has made several arrests since its inception, including nabbing two of its own members. However, gang violence continues.

Over the past weekend, police launched a manhunt for people who shot and killed an alleged gang leader.

The police's Andre Traut said: "Last night, at around 9:30pm, a 23-year-old man was shot and killed in Bonteheuwel by an unknown suspect. The circumstances around the shooting are being investigated, but the possibility that it is gang-related is possible."

Twenty-seven people have been murdered in the area since the start of this year.

The weekend shooting came days after the announcement that 100 law enforcement officers would permanently be deployed in Bonteheuwel from 1 June.

Additional reporting by Babalo Ndenze.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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