"No military to fight Eastern Cape Gangsterism, police are making good progress"
"No military will be deployed in Eastern Cape to fight Gangsterism yet, as there is good progress in the work done by police and its strategic partners in eradicating gangsterism in our Province", was the response of Premier Oscar Mabuyane during a media briefing at Strelitzia Primary School today during a day-long visit and planned operations at Gangsterism infested Port Elizabeth Northern Areas.
"There can't be peace and security in a place where our people have to run away from guns. We are declaring war on gangsterism, crime and drugs. We are going to remove any stumbling block against the people and our government, especially crime. I was concerned to see young people loitering instead of being at school," said the Premier.
The roadshow with the premier began early today at 10111 Centre where the Premier requested the Nelson Mandela Metro Mayor, Mr Bonani to ensure that cameras fitted at this Centre are utilized in the efforts to fight crime by the metro.
The Premier's roadshow passed at two local schools, Arcadia Senior Secondary School and Strelitzia Primary School, Bethelsdorp where talks and community engagement ensued.
Strelitzia Primary School was closed by concerned parents after Gangsterism violence erupted. A promise to fence Strelitzia Primary next week was also made by the chairperson of Portfolio Committee on Safety and Security in the Province.
This visit was preceded by an overnight operation that led to recovery of 8 illegal firearms, 14 rounds of ammunition (9mm) five rounds (7.65) and 6000 mineral tablets. The Premier expressed his satisfaction with progress attained and stressed the need for deeper cooperation between all sectors of community while outlining the role of government.
"Fighting crime and eradicating Gangsterism in our Province is one of key priorities of the sixth administration. Crime affects our daily lives, development and even business. We are here to work with you, not only lead but support you. Let's do operations and parallel, a socio economic approach of engaging communities, CPF and business" said the Premier.
The Provincial police shared some of the milestones and successes in the past four years where at least 207 suspects had been arrested and successfully convicted since 2014 to date. Twenty one (21) life sentences and 2430 years combined sentences were handed over during the same time.
Since December 2018 until July 2019, 36 arrests have been effected, 64 arrests for attempted murder, 67 arrests for illegal possession of firearms and ammunition.
A total of twenty two (22) gang members were convicted for gang related activities that resulted in combined sentences of 191 years in prison. Two of these sentences are life in prison.
Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lt Gen Ntshinga said there is a plan in place that will end up with permanent Gangsterism Unit established in the Province. "At the moment we have called up members from various clusters. We are also delighted with the twelve vehicles that will boost our visibility and reaction times", she said.
Eastern Cape Junior Commissioner Andisiwe Sango addressed the learners telling them that they should be wary of crime as they are future leaders.
"When I see you I see the future, not the future of South Africa, but the future of the world," she said boldly.
She furthermore encouraged the learners to have self-confidence and keep away from life of drugs and Gangsterism.
"Your background shouldn't define who you going to be. Because you are not a gangster. Because you are not someone who's going to be a teenage mom and end up just being a teenage Mom. You're going to be so successful," she added with full confidence.
She encouraged the community to work together, "You need to remember that when we are united, we are stronger. But the minute we are divided, we are weak. You should not be scared to go to the police as they are here to help you. Youth should actually engage themselves in police related programs because we are fighting crime together. As little as I am. I'm 15 years old this year."