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Fritz: Cele must prioritise WC safety in face of rising gang violence

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said that the need for safety in the Western Cape to be prioritised was evidenced by the province's overburdened mortuaries.

Police Minister Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole during a visit to Philippi East, Cape Town on 8 July 2019. Picture: @SAPoliceService/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said that the need for safety in the Western Cape to be prioritised was evidenced by the province's overburdened mortuaries.

Fritz has called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to urgently prioritise gang violence when he delivers his budget vote speech in Parliament on Thursday.

Several suburbs in Cape Town have seen a rise in murders and gang violence in recent months.

Fritz suggested filling the 4,500 vacant SAPS posts in the province was one of the issues Police Minister Bheki Cele must prioritise in his budget vote speech in Parliament today.

He said the Western Cape was in an abysmal state with at least 1,995 murders between January and June.

Fritz said that Cele should also speak about the deployment of the army as a peacekeeping force within communities so that the police were able to pursue arrests and investigations.

Over the past weekend, eleven people were shot dead in Philippi and nine were murdered in Delft, while more than 40 people were killed in Bonteheuwel since the start of the year.

Fritz earlier this week called for a tougher approach: a state of emergency with curfews and access controlled roads, saying he believed police had lost the fight against crime.

Meanwhile, Freedom Front Plus leader in the Western Cape Peter Marias said that sending troops into gang areas was not the answer.

Marais was responding to calls by Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz for the army to be deployed in gang areas and to manage a state of emergency.

Marais said that social interventions were needed to keep youths away from gangs.

"We are going to get to the bottom of the cause of coloured youths being drawn to gangsterism. You cannot say "I will allow people to become gangsters, be thrown into jail and then I'm going to try and rehabilitate them'. Address the issue before these young people get caught up in gangsterism."

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