South Africa: Cele Brings Thunder to the Western Cape

(file photo).

It is not only gangsters in the Western Cape who will have to look out for thunder of a different kind in the coming months, the police are also going after suspects in KwaZulu-Natal's political killings.

In his budget address on Tuesday Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the launch of Operation Thunder, through which members from specialised units from other provinces will be brought in to deal with crime in the Western Cape.

"We will be here over three months painting the Western Cape blue," he said, to much amusement from the DA benches.

He said within the next weeks tactical response teams and tracking teams would be "deployed in medium- to high-risk tactical intelligence operations dedicated to fighting cash-in-transit heists, armed robberies, murders, taxi violence and political killings".

At a press briefing after his speech, he elaborated further on Operation Thunder.

He said between 270 and 300 police officers from other provinces would be deployed in the Western Cape, specifically in the crime-ridden Cape Flats and townships.

Intervention measures for political killings

He said the officers would bring a "mixed bag of skills".

He said after three months National Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khehla Sitole would assess the operation's impact on crime. If it is found that it hasn't made a significant dent it can be extended, he said.

"We are very serious about putting the drug lords [in jail], and leaving the small fish," he said.

Sitole said Operation Thunder was a stabilisation operation and there would be similar operations in other parts of the country.

In his speech, Cele said he wanted to reassure South Africans that the police were in the process of responding to the "ongoing alleged political killings".

"The President, his Excellency the Honourable Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa, has put together a team of ministers to deal will the attacks in KwaZulu-Natal. In the next few days we will be announcing intervention measures to address the killings," he said.

Victims of gender-based violence honoured

In the debate on the budget EFF MP Phillip Mhlongo said: "The angel of darkness has been thrown to KwaZulu-Natal (sic)."

He described the province as "a paradise of anarchy".

At the briefing after the speech, Cele said four ministers of the security cluster, himself included, would go to the province on Monday.

"We want to get a thorough briefing on what has happened," he said.

He said the victims of the political killings had all been shot.

"They're not killed by avian flu. Where are those people that shot them?"

Cele said his budget vote speech was in honour of "all women and children who have been the victims of gender-based violence".

"Mr president, the police are taking the Thuma Mina call to the streets of South Africa to bring down the scourge of crimes against women and children and vulnerable groups in our society!" he said.

Source: News24

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