The University of Cape Town (UCT) played host this past week to a three day in-depth discussion on gangs and gang violence, tackling the thinking strategy and mentalities behind the leaders and members of these gangs. The event was attended by a number of major role-players in the safety and security sector, such as SAPS general Jeremy Veary, the City of Cape Town’s Councilor JP Smith, and members of the Mitchells Plain Community Policing Forum (CPF).
According to Michael Jacobs, the Mitchells Plain CPF cluster chairperson, the meetings focused mainly on gang related activity in the Cape Flats area, where immediate intervention was needed most. He said there was a sense of fear amongst residents, with some of the provinces most brutal gang related killings taking place across the Cape Flats area.
“As a community we can no longer be silent, and we can no longer be inactive. We need to take hands with all government departments, the police, law enforcement agencies, and as a community, in order to end this kind of violence against our community,” he explained.
The Mitchells Plain CPF cluster has developed an active partnership with the South African Police Services (SAPS), and Jacob noted that this had resulted in a number of successes within the area.
He also hailed the active participation by community in tackling the gang issue, particularly in the Tafelsig and Beacon Valley areas, where residents came out in their numbers to assist the cluster in curbing the gang violence.
“What we are also saying is, we must take the gloves off on the Cape Flats against gangs. These killings must stop,” he said.
Jacobs said it was vital to have a focused programme, where the community could go to the areas where the issues were must concerning, and assist the authorities in tackling the issue.
“We as a community needs to go and assist. We need to tell the gangsters that enough is enough. We must take back our streets, we must reclaim our schools, because there are incidents of violence whereby our kids are too afraid to go to school,” he said.
He called on the police to be stern on the issue, and detain all known gang leaders whenever an incident or shooting took place.
“They are responsible, and must be held accountable. They must be held and questioned, so that our community can see that the police are doing something,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)