The army & the Cape Flats one month later: 'We're making inroads,' says Bheki Cele

13 August 2019 - 10:58 By Unathi Nkanjeni
Police minister Bheki Cele says Operation Lockdown has been a success in cracking down on gangs and crime in Cape Town.
Police minister Bheki Cele says Operation Lockdown has been a success in cracking down on gangs and crime in Cape Town.
Image: Esa Alexander

Police minister Bheki Cele has praised Operation Lockdown for stabilising crime on the Cape Flats, but says it's still "early days" in the intervention.

It's been a month since he deployed soldiers to patrol the area in a bid to reduce the spiralling crime rate in gangster hot spots.

According to Cele, the successes so far include the arrests of 806 wanted suspects and 20 gangsters.

"On the gang front, we continue making inroads in dealing with gang violence. Currently, 20 members of a notorious gang are before the Western Cape high court. They are charged in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act," he said.

Early days

Cele said the project was still in its "early days" and more operations would take place.

"The additional forces on the ground remain committed in ridding Cape Town communities of gang violence and its manifestations.

"We acknowledge that crime is stabilising. However, we would have loved to see the figures dropping even further. With concerted effort, we are working towards reducing the figures even further. It’s important to note Operation Lockdown remains a temporary initiative," he said.

The numbers

Cele said the police and military have been hard at work executing search warrants to trace wanted suspects. Here are the numbers:

  • 1,004 suspects have been arrested for crimes including murder, attempted murder, armed robbery and hijacking
  • 806 “wanted” suspects have been apprehended for crimes including domestic violence, armed robbery, hijacking, assault and assault with the intent to do grievous bodily harm
  • 20 gang members are before the Western Cape high court
  • 1,036 rounds of ammunition, 78 knives and 45 firearms have been confiscated
  • The defence force has been active in 15 areas since July 12.

Deaths in the Western Cape

At the weekend, 47 murders were recorded– 27 shootings, 13 stabbings and seven by "other means".

Among the dead were a mother from Kuils River who was allegedly stabbed by her teenage son, and a 29-year-old taxi driver, who was shot in the face multiple times.

Western Cape premier Alan Winde said on Monday that the number of deaths was "devastating".He said he would write to the police to ascertain how it intends dealing with the crisis.

"Violence like we’ve seen over the past weekend impacts the whole province and all areas of government. We have seen the strain that violence is placing on our health system, with massive increases in gunshot injuries, resulting in surgeries which are not life-threatening being pushed back.

"We see the effect of violence on children and teachers in schools, and it affects our ability as a province to attract the investment we need to grow the economy and create jobs, which help in solving the crime crisis in this province."