While the recent spate of gang activity in the Cape Flats township of Delft continues to worry community members, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and residents are working to enforce change within the area. During the month of August, a total of 31 individuals were murdered in the area, 29 of which were killed as a result of gang violence. The violence has been attributed to the recent release of members of the 26 gang who were relocated to Delft, an area notoriously controlled by the 28’s. In recent weeks, Ministry of Community Safety in Western Cape met with various stakeholders in the area and held a second meeting earlier this week.
Speaking to VOC on Wednesday, MEC for Community Safety in the Western Cape, Dan Plato said while a number of issues were raised in Tuesday’s meeting, the most pressing issues included the continued violence between the rival gangs, the consequent dangers that residents face as a result of gang violence, and the lack of police visibility.
He says that the recent flare up in gang violence is due to the fact that gang activity is closely linked to the trade of drugs in the Cape Flats. Given the level of violence that residents have been witness to, Plato said a large contingency of police officials were present at the meeting.
“They [SAPS] did bring in reinforcements; new recruits, new special units, and investigative units were deployed in the area. So the community is happy to see the visibility of police,” Plato stated.
While the on-going violence has been minimized with the increased police presence, he notes that residents are mainly concerned about the possible flare ups that may occur at any time during the day.
Plato adds that he has urged law enforcement officials to remain visible within the area in order to combat gang activity within the already socioeconomically embattled community.
“We can see that for the last couple of days, no one was shot or killed and the community leadership is quite happy with that.”
He says that the community has also urged law enforcement to remain visible and to establish two additional satellite police stations in order to prevent future flare-ups.
“It is clear that the one police station is not enough [to service] the entire area. Obviously, the police currently deployed must remain in Delft, the moment that the extra manpower withdraws, they may be a flare-up.”
In order to facilitate normalcy in the community, he has encouraged the residents of Delft to join the neighbourhood watch and the Community Policing Forum, which he says is doing sterling work.
“Police is not able to be on each street in every community. So we need people, especially those who are at home, to assist the police with information about gangsters – police can only act with information they receive from the community,” he continued.
Plato said he has assured the community that at their request he will return to the area to reassess the situation. VOC