The new Anti-Gang Unit has been chipping away at illegal firearms and drugs, with the recent arrest of six people in Philippi and the confiscation of more than R1m worth of drugs, Western Cape police said on Wednesday.
“The Anti-Gang Unit is making headway in disarming criminals in our province,” provincial commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula said.
The six people were arrested on Tuesday when the unit’s members responded to a tip-off about drugs at a residence in Oasis squatter camp.
When they conducted a search operation they discovered two 9mm pistols, a .45 calibre pistol, 70 rounds of ammunition, dagga valued at R1m, heroin with a street value of about R130 000, six cellphones and R11 550 cash, believed to be the proceeds of drug trafficking.
Following up on a tip-off on Wednesday, police arrested a 32-year-old man in Kardow Street, Mitchells Plain. He was allegedly in possession of an unlicensed 9mm pistol and three rounds of ammunition.
At around the same time, the unit’s members searched a home in the same street and arrested a 35-year-old who was allegedly in possession of a .38 revolver, 51 rounds of ammunition and a small quantity of drugs.
Both are to appear in court in Mitchells Plain on Thursday.
“If you are illegally in possession of a firearm, we are going to arrest you,” Jula said in a statement as he announced more arrests in Nyanga and Khayelitsha.
In those suburbs, the Provincial Reaction Team nabbed four people in alleged possession of three unlicensed firearms.
Nyanga has the dubious distinction of having the highest murder rate in the country.
In the search and seizure operation, police arrested one person in Bathwali Street in Unathi, Nyanga, who was in alleged possession of a 9mm pistol without a serial number and five rounds of ammunition.
From there they proceeded to Ngabangaba Street where a man and a woman were arrested for alleged possession of an AK47 assault rifle and 30 rounds of ammunition.
In Site B in Khayelitsha, another person was arrested for possession of an unlicensed firearm.
Once charged, the four people are expected to appear in court in Athlone and Khayelitsha.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele officially launched the Anti-Gang Unit in Hanover Park last Friday.
The unit had already been on the ground after residents begged police through protests and petitions to get rid of gangsterism.
Gift of the Givers volunteer Ameerodien Noordien was killed in the crossfire of a shooting in Hanover Park hours after his return from a mercy mission with the organisation in October. Three other people were injured.
When Cele visited his parents, he pledged to launch the unit there.
During the launch, guests were shown some of the tactics and resources that the unit had at its disposal, including 50 high-powered vehicles, and helicopter support.