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MEC calls for answers on gang units

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Western Cape MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato has called for more transparency as to the current progress on the reintroduction of specialised drug and gang units, a month after police minister,Nathi Nhleko announced that the units would be re-established within SAPS. Within a Western Cape context, these units would play a crucial role in ridding communities across the Cape Flats from these scourges.

Despite the urgent need for a more concerted fight against gangsterism and drugs, there has been little information from the national police department as to when these units may be deployed.On Wednesday Plato submitted a formal letter to Nhleko requesting the minister detail the current progress in their impending reestablishment.

Speaking to VOC Breakfast Beat, Plato’s spokesperson, Ewald Botha said that whilst the minister had initially welcomed the announcement, he was now concerned over how long the process would take.

“Mr. Plato requested more information and a briefing on how these units would be trained, when they would be instituted, where they would be deployed and how they would be capacitated. This is especially since the situation in the province concerning drugs and gangs has reached a point where we really can’t delay intervention any longer,” he said, adding that every day this was postponed; more lives were being unnecessarily lost.

Whilst aware that such a development would need time to be fully established, he said the department at least needed a date of expectation for the reintroduction, so as to appropriately manage their efforts in the drug and gang invested areas.

“It’s all about expectation management, to see how long we need to manage the scourge of drugs and gangs in the province to the best of our ability, and that of SAPS,” he stated.

The reason why the department has been so eager for the units to be established is the fact that its personnel would likely be better equipped and trained to thoroughly investigate cases, and gather sufficient information for prosecution. Botha noted that of 3100 gang related murders and attempted murders within the last three years, a lack of evidence meant that only 85 were successfully prosecuted.

“That is the type of difference the specialised gang units can make,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)


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