From the news desk

Police minister vows to root out gangsters

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By Thakira Desai

Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula has warned gangsters that their days are numbered and police will intensify the fight against gang violence. The minister visited Elsies River on Thursday, after a brutal drive-by shooting on Monday night, in which three people were killed.

Minister addressing the media briefing at the Elsies River police station

According to witnesses, occupants of two vehicles, a red Audi and an Uno opened fire on a group of people who were believed to have been celebrating a birthday, playing cards and drinking in Tiara Road. Thirteen were shot, three of whom succumbed to their injuries outside the De Brug apartment block at approximately 20:30pm.

Speaking to journalists on a walkabout at the crime scene, Mbalula emphasised the need to rid the Cape Flats of illegal weapons, gangsterism, and the need for increased policing in crime ridden communities. He further noted that both the police and residents should not allow gangsters to have power within communities.

“Where have you seen gangsters dish out ‘pension funds’ to residents?” said Mbalula.

Residents gather to meet the minister

He assured communities that SAPS will raid gangsters and that law enforcement will not operate as ‘ ‘business per usual’.

Mbalula sent condolences to the families of the deceased, Fernand Williams, Anthony Philips, David Classen.

Following a media briefing, residents voiced their frustration at the high levels of violence on the Cape Flats.

Community members converge at the crime scene

Deputy chairperson of the Community Police Forum (CPF) Imraan Mukkadam said there needs to be a change in language from the use of the word ‘gangsterism’ to ‘organized crime’ when referring to crime on the Cape Flats. He said incidents of this nature would be considered an act of terrorism if it occurred in affluent white areas or elsewhere in the world.

In memory of Panky
Bullet markings where the victims were playing cards when the incident occurred
A tribute wall to the deceased
An emotional Jacquilin Classen, the mother of David, one of the men killed, flanked by her daughters and her grandson who is now fatherless, speaks to VOC News

In response, Minister Mbalula reiterated the State’s duty to protect residents, to ensure that communities do not live in terror and to ensure that residents have access to their freedom of movement.

Meanwhile, member of Elsie’s River CPF, William Sampie, urged politicians to deal with real issues faced by communities instead of concerning themselves with internal political squabbles.

VOC 91.3fm

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