Western Cape a 'war zone', says MEC after latest spate of murders
Western Cape residents are living in a “war zone”, community safety MEC Albert Fritz said on Monday in reaction to the murder of 14 people within the space of a week.
“War is commonly defined by the UN and other such institutions as an act of conflict that has claimed more than 1,000 lives. In the Western Cape, 1,875 people were murdered in the past six months alone,” he said.
"This means that many of our most vulnerable residents in the province are living in a war zone."
Blikkiesdorp, Athlone and Mitchells Plain residents have endured a week of terror as separate shooting incidents claimed 14 lives.
Provincial police spokesperson Lt-Col Andrè Traut said that motive had yet to be established for one incident that left five people dead in Blikkiesdorp, a temporary relocation area consisting of tin shacks in Delft.
“Five victims were fatally wounded and the sixth victim sustained a gunshot wound to his face,” he said.
“Three suspects fled the scene and are yet to be arrested. The motive for the incident is yet to be determined. The ages and the identities of the victims are also yet to be determined."
Fritz said he would be requesting an urgent meeting with police minister Bheki Cele to discuss the ongoing murders.
“As the Western Cape government we will continue to do everything within our power to prevent crime through our programmes whilst working with our communities,” he said.
“Amongst others, these programmes prioritise the development of youth and drive job creation to ensure that individuals do not have to resort to a life of crime.”
Fritz said he would attend a provincial courts efficiency committee meeting on Wednesday, chaired by judge president John Hlophe, where he would call on police to put an end to the violence plaguing the Western Cape.