The issue of gang violence, though having increased over the past few months, remains a ‘norm’ in the lives of Cape Flats communities, but with the recent discovery of an arms cache in Valhalla Park, residents have been granted renewed hope. In what is considered a ground-breaking discovery, last week the South African Police Service (SAPS) seized over 250 firearms, ammunition and an undisclosed amount of money at a home in Valhalla Park, an area plagued by crime and gangsterism.
The incident followed a number of arm theft reports, where earlier this year, reports circulated about a police intelligence-driven operation having allegedly found an arms cache at a cemetery in Kleinvlei near Wesbank. The cache allegedly contained a rifle‚ ammunition‚ grenades and detonators. In a separate incident, three suspects were accused of robbing the Simons Town Naval Base of arms, including 58 hand grenades, two assault rifles and four Uzi sub-machine guns.
MEC FOR Community Safety, Dan Plato explains that while gang violence remains a concern within the Cape Flats, he is pleased that more illegal weapons are being discovered.
Plato confirmed that the perpetrators, who are allegedly involved in the Valhalla Park discovery, did appear in court on Monday and that the case has been postponed until a later date.
Since in most incidents those working at the lower spectrum of syndicates are the individuals who are apprehended, he asserts that more needs to be done to apprehend individuals who head the groups.
“The upcoming court cases, which includes other people involved in gun running and racketeering, will shed some light on the origin of the guns; who is supplying the guns, where they are coming from, and whether police are involved?” Plato stated.
The cache was allegedly discovered in the home of a gang boss who also appeared in court on Monday and whose gang activity Plato asserts was well-established by police.
Plato has urged members of the public to report any information that may provide insight into who is dealing in illegal weapons and where caches may be stored.
“Police react on a tip-off. So, the public needs to provide SAPS with clear information with regard to where guns are kept and in whose possession,” he added.
In light of safety concerns that may hinder community members from coming forward with information, he says that while the safety of those who supply information to SAPS remains a genuine concern, SAPS members are mandated to safeguard their identity.
“SAPS leadership is clear that any person who provides information, his or her identity must be kept confidential. If any SAPS member shares the identity of an individual to a gangster, that person is immediately liable for disciplinary action,” he noted.
If you are witness to suspicious activity, contact SAPS on its toll free number: 086010111