Cele warns criminals to 'run' as additional forces deployed in WC to fight crime

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday welcomed almost 200 additional police officers to fight crime in the province.

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday, 7 April 2021, giving officers strict orders to clean up the streets of the Western Cape and root out gangsters. Picture: Lauren Isaacs/Eyewitness News.

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Bheki Cele has sent a stern warning to criminals - be prepared to see officers out in force on the streets of the Western Cape.

Cele on Wednesday welcomed almost 200 additional police officers to fight crime in the province.

READ: Cele welcomes deployment of 197 additional cops to fight crime in WC

The move followed what police referred to as a gradual increase in violent crimes, especially crimes related to gang violence.

Minister Cele warned that officers would have no mercy as they worked to clean up Western Cape communities plagued by violence.

“I’m staying with you here for a week. We’ll be running after criminals here. Some have asked for how long. Don’t worry, we’ll be here for some time to clean this place.”

Cele said most of the drugs produced in South Africa were found to be destined for Cape Town, and he believed that’s what fuels gangsterism and violent crime.

“Let’s say to criminals: you don’t belong here, run!.”

The 197 additional police officers will be deployed to crime hotspots, including Khayelitsha, Delft, Mfuleni, Nyanga and the Philippi East policing precinct.

Cele said that all spheres of government were trying to tackle extortion rackets.

Such syndicates seemed to be running rampant in the city.

“I met two young ladies and they said they were staying in one of the townships. 'Ask the owners of households how many people are leasing in the backyard? Ask how much do they pay? If you pay R300, they want 10% of that R300. They don’t just go for those who have money, they go for people who are poor.'”

Speaking in Belhar on Wednesday, Cele said that he was pleased with the progress being made in probing cases of extortion.

He'll be meeting with representatives from the national government, provincial government and the city to discuss the issue on Thursday.

The Khayelitsha Development Forum has previously told Eyewitness News that hair salons, hawkers and childcare centres were among those being extorted by gangsters in the area.

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