Effectiveness of SAPS anti-gang strategy under scrutiny on Tuesday
The Portfolio Committee on Police will on Tuesday evaluate the current anti-gang strategy of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in its first meeting of 2019.
The Chairperson of the committee; Mr Francois Beukman said SAPS's ability to deal with organised crime and specifically organised gangs is key to ensure that the recommendations of the National Development Plan about the re-establishment of specialised unit is fully implemented.
The committee has invited civil society groups and community leaders from four provinces to the meeting to give testimony on their experiences and concerns about the law enforcement in gang infested areas.
Community groups from Gauteng, Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State have been invited by the Committee Secretariat to the meeting on Tuesday. The groups include Community Police Forums, civil society and religious leaders. The committee remains of the view that Police Stations in gang-infested areas should have competent and experienced station commanders and the necessary resources to deal with the challenges that they encounter daily.
"The Portfolio Committee is of the firm view that the input of community members, community leaders, trade unions and religious leaders is key to to deal with gang criminality. "We are looking forward to listening their input and contributions," Mr Beukman said.
Mr Beukman said that the committee is very concerned about reports that more than 185 people have been killed in gang related violence on the Cape Flats in the Western Cape since March 2018.
The number of young children who have been maimed and killed in cross-fire of gang groups is totally unacceptable. All role-players ranging from parents, schools, business, religious groupings and the different levels of government should work shoulder to shoulder to address the root causes.
It is not a mere law and order issue, but inter alia a social-economic matter due to the legacy of apartheid spatial planning and lack of economic and social investment in the specific affected areas. "The availability of illegal fire-arms in gang infested communities is also a major concern and needs non-stop intervention by the Crime Intelligence and the Specialised Unit of the DPCI (Hawks) dealing with Illegal Fire-arms" Mr Beukman emphasised.
The committee is also very concerned about the support given to the Community Police Forums in gang-infested and hotspot areas. A CPF-member, Ms S Daniels was shot in Eastridge, Mitchell's Plain on 28 January 2019. Mr A Peyper, a CPF-member from Hercules CPF was shot in a targeted business robbery on 2 February 2019.
The committee will seek assurances from the National Police Management and the Civilian Secretariat on Police on Tuesday to ensure that Community Police Forums in hot spot areas receive the necessary support.
Issued by: Parliament of South Africa