JOHANNESBURG, October 1 – South Africa’s national crime prevention strategy needs to be urgently reviewed for additional resources to be allocated to communities terrorised by violent crimes, gangsterism, and drugs, the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) said on Sunday.
This comes in the wake of the murder of 11 people in shooting incidents in the Marikana informal settlement in Philippi East near Nyanga in Cape Town on Friday night. Ten people were shot dead “in four scenes”, and another later died from gunshot wounds, Police Minister Fikile Mbulula said on Saturday.
“It is alleged that in the first incident unknown suspects fired shots inside a tavern fatally wounding four people. In the second scene in a shack three more were shot dead and one outside the dwelling. Not far from the second scene, two more bodies were found lying in the street. Another person died in hospital from gunshot wounds sustained in the attack,” he said.
The shootings followed an earlier incident on Tuesday September 25, in which seven people were killed in what was believed to be vigilante murders, Mbalula said.
On Sunday, Sanco national spokesman Jabu Mahlangu said “a reactive strategy characterised by war-talk, tweets that seek to catch headlines, as well as empty rhetoric that is not backed by a tangible plan does not intimidate heartless criminals that have unleashed terror in communities”.
“The 11 Marikana informal settlement murders which have shocked the nation are a stark reminder of the degree to which the threat of violent criminals is pervasive in most of our communities,” Mahlangu said.
Illegal firearms within communities could “only be silenced by a corrupt-free police service, not those that are running with hares and hunting with the hounds”.
“The fact that most guns in the hands of criminals in the Western Cape can be traced back to corrupt elements within the police service whose loyalty to crime syndicates is not in doubt points to the need to intensify the onslaught against these weakest links that are exposing their dedicated colleagues and communities to danger.”
Mahlangu also appealed for calm and urged communities to co-operate and join hands with the special task team deployed to investigate the murders. “Vigilantism will only serve to perpetuate the vicious cycle of senseless violence and provide cover for the cold-blooded murderers who must be behind bars,” he said.
On Saturday, Western Cape police commissioner Lt-Gen Khombinkosi Jula placed the Philippi East police station precinct under the care of deputy commissioner Maj-Gen Mpumelelo Manci.
Manci had vast years of experience and previously worked in Nyanga as a station commissioner. He would be supported by a team comprising specialist detectives, intelligence operatives, and high risk units such as the tactical response team (TRT), national intervention unit (NIU), and other forces, Western Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said.
Forces on the ground were currently executing search operations that would continue throughout the weekend. “An appeal is made to community members with information to come forward and assist the police investigation initiated,” Potelwa said.