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City steps in to support SAPS to stem gang bloodshed

Statement by Mayoral Committee member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith

The City of Cape Town is doing its utmost to assist the South African Police Service in quelling the apparent flare-up in gang violence in a number of suburbs around the city.

Hanover Park and Delft, in particular, are extremely volatile.

The City's Law Enforcement Department and Neighbourhood Safety Team are lending assistance to the SAPS with numerous operations being carried out in Delft.

Already, the City has moved more staff to work overnight shifts, as that is when the violence is prevalent. Information at hand suggests the conflict in Blikkiesdorp was sparked by a gang member ejected from the area, who is trying to fight his way back in.

In Hanover Park, we are assisted by ShotSpotter technology; although the shooting incidents have no pattern to them, making it difficult to deploy resources effectively.

We have requested that the SAPS Crime Intelligence Division come on board to assist in what appears to be a struggle for turf in the area.

Data shows that bigger caliber weapons are being used in addition to handguns, and that there are elements within the taxi industry who are involved now too, which resulted in a taxi being set alight last week.

The situation in Manenberg has stabilized, which has allowed the Metro Police Gang and Drug Task Team to focus on Hanover Park.

Bonteheuwel and Lavender Hill are also presenting challenges that require attention.

However, the City's Metro Police Department simply does not have enough boots on the ground to sustain interventions to the extent that SAPS are required to by law. The situation will improve in the coming months courtesy of additional resources, but it will still take a while before these new officers complete their training.

In the interim, the following interventions were made:

adjusted times of shifts and deployments to respond to the pattern of late night violence

repurposed staff over soft borders from other areas

brought on board extra shifts (people on standby called in) and maximized overtime deployment

ongoing engagement with SAPS to see how and where the City can assist

Ultimately, crime prevention remains the primary responsibility of the South African Police Service.

The City's role is to provide support to SAPS, as far as our resources allow.

We are investing more funding into our Safety and Security Directorate, but this will be futile unless SAPS too starts addressing its resource challenges. The intergovernmental dispute around the level of resourcing within SAPS is a matter that needs to be resolved urgently if we are to make any meaningful impact in the areas worst affected by crime.

Finally, we call on the community to assist both the City and SAPS by reporting any incidents as they happen, or by sharing any intelligence that could lead to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the shooting incidents and the confiscation of the firearms involved.

In the week 1 to 9 June 2019, there were 45 complaints logged of criminal activity via the City's Public Emergency Communication Centre (PECC) for incidents in Hanover Park (18), Manenberg (11) and Delft/The Hague/Voorbrug (18).

Source: City Of Cape Town

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