Gangs need effective policing: Zille
Gang warfare could only be curbed by effective investigative policing, Western Cape premier Helen Zille says.
“Effective investigative policing is the weakest link in a generally fragile criminal justice chain,” she said in the DA newsletter SA Today.
“And until we get this right, we will not find a long term solution to gang violence.” She noted that gangs were an established part of Cape Town’s social geography, with a history dating back to the aftermath of World War II and forced removals.
There were now more than 130 gangs with a collective membership of around 100,000, particularly in the poorest areas such as Hanover Park and Lavender Hill.
“The explosion of crystal methamphetamine abuse (commonly known as tik) has intensified gang warfare and spread its tentacles into new areas, such as Khayelitsha and Nyanga, with devastating consequences.” Twenty-three people had died, including seven children, in a spike in gang violence in the last few months.
“The current situation is beyond the capacity of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to control.” She suggested the army be deployed, but this intervention could only be temporary, and could only happen under police command.
But the police force was battling with low morale, high rates of absenteeism, and an inability to perform criminal investigations.
According to Zille there had not been a single conviction over the past three years, despite 87 cases of gang-related murder and attempted murder in Hanover Park.
“Although the provincial prosecution authorities contest this statistic, we are unable to get alternative information,” she said.