Second summit planned so gang-plagued communities can have their say

14 July 2019 - 14:39 By TimesLIVE
Police minister Bheki Cele says a second summit will be held within two weeks to hear from communities affected by gang violence on the Cape Flats.
Police minister Bheki Cele says a second summit will be held within two weeks to hear from communities affected by gang violence on the Cape Flats.
Image: Jackie Clausen

A second summit to address spiralling violent crime in the Western Cape will be held within two weeks.

Speaking at the end of a weekend summit in Paarl on Sunday, police minister Bheki Cele said communities had complained they were not properly represented.

"It was then agreed that in two weeks there will be a bigger coming together of the CPFs (community policing forums) and the community organisations that will make the input about what they think should be done by the government - national, provincial and local government," Cele told a media briefing.

The summit was held two days after Cele announced a three-month deployment by the army in gang-ridden areas of the Cape Flats.

Troops began arriving on Friday and are expected to start patrolling in support of the police early this week. 

Fransina Lukas, chairperson of community police forums in the Western Cape, said she was happy with the outcome of the weekend summit.

"We want to thank the minister for taking the initiative but also for engaging all government departments under one roof to talk, but more importantly to come up with a way to address the challenges of crime within our communities," she said.

"We are convinced this will be different now because there are clear timeframes attached to what must be done, by who, and more importantly there will be monitoring and evaluation and report-backs on a three-monthly basis."

Cele said about 500 delegates at the summit had had "cordial and robust discussions. There was no war."

He said Western Cape premier Alan Winde had spent Saturday at the summit and "there is a lot of alignment and agreement on working together".

Community safety MEC Albert Fritz said he was convinced that the summit had not been "just another talk shop. There's an urgency, there's an action plan."

He said the second summit would include not only community police forums but neighbourhood watches, "to give back power to local communities".

Fritz added: "We've seen that where communities are strong, gangsters are cowards, they disappear."


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