By Anees Teladia
Religious leaders, Community Policing Forums, street committees, non-governmental organizations as well as parents and community members will have an opportunity to engage the Minister of Police, Bheki Cele on the impact of crime in the Western Cape. The crime imbizo is called “Community Mobilization against Crime” and will be held at Freedom Square, Lavender Hill on Friday 8 March 2019.
ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs said he was delighted at the swift response taken by the Minister to President Ramaphosa’s injunction given in the City Hall last week, which called for the ANC to go out and listen to the people.
“Once again our President has showed how serious he is about cleaning up South Africa. Getting to grips with the scourge of crime is part of this clean-up. We encourage all our communities to go to Lavender Hill and tell Minister Cele about their problems with crime,” said Jacobs.
One of the most pressing issues facing crime-afflicted communities is that of cold cases – criminal cases which have not been resolved. Many families on the Cape Flats have lost loved ones through gang violence and other crimes, but these cases often slip through the cracks.
Crime activist Hanif Loonat said communities need to engage with the minister on their personal experiences with the police and justice system.
“My plea to our community is that here is an opportunity, let us not lose this opportunity. Let us go to the meeting and let the Minister know we have had enough of corruption and that we cannot allow cases to go cold,” said Loonat.
“…Dear ones have been lost. Let us show respect to them by reopening cases and making sure that people are brought to book and land up in orange uniforms.”
Loonat added that the introduction of the Anti-Gang unit has made a difference and the police have brought many perpetrators to book.
Crime in the Western Cape under the DA administration has in recent years escalated with many innocent lives lost in the process, according to the statistics by Crime Stats SA.
Many reported police cases in the Western Cape go cold, leaving families with no hope that justice will be served.
Loonat asserted that the blame falls on both the authorities and the community members.
“Many community members know exactly who the perpetrators of these shootings are,” said Loonat.
Loonat then linked communities to the problem of crime.
“This makes it clear to us that communities are aware, and are party to, these shootings – directly or indirectly.”
Corruption within the policing system is one of the most crucial reasons why these cases go cold and that other reasons include but are not limited to “ineffective policing”, added Loonat.
“…we need to be open-hearted and not simply accuse the minister of using this as an election tactic… Let us accept that these government officials will serve us until the end of their elected terms,” he suggested.
The imbizo will be hosted by the Commissioner of Police in the Western Cape Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, who has also been called upon to give the Minister’s ear and attention to the relatives of people murdered in the province, as well as the survivors of attempted murder. In addition to the discussion on cold cases and gangs, other major crimes such as rape will also be dealt with at the imbizo.
The ANC in the Western Cape said busses will be available from several areas including: Blue Downs, Cape Town, Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain, Nyanga, Wynberg, Kraaifontein, the Winelands and Worcester. Loonat indicated that they would also mobilise areas such as Atlantis, Oceanview Grassy Park, Hanover Park, Bonteheuwel and Elsie’s River.
Transport leaves at 7.30 am and the meeting is scheduled to begin at 10am.