A Tafelsig man can now take his dog for regular walks and not have to dodge bullets or be kept indoors because of gang violence.
This, since police set up a base camp in AZ Berman Drive, Tafelsig, as part of Operation Thunder, a national intervention aimed at rooting out gang violence and other serious crimes on the Cape Flats, on Sunday July 22.
Sedick Hendricks told the Plainsman on Wednesday July 25 that the vibe was different and that children could now play freely, and added: “Dit is bietjie stil anders is ek en my hond ingehok.”
Mr Hendricks said before police moved into the area, there had been daily shootings.
A group of pupils crossing the main road, walking from Tafelsig High School, said they no longer had to wait for the shooting to die down before they could make their way to school.
“We can walk freely now,” said one of the girls.
Police Minister Bheki Cele launched the operation in Portland on May 15 and deployed an additional 269 police offices, comprising Special Task Force, Tactical Response Teams, Public Order Police, detectives and crime intelligence operatives conducting operations in an effort to quell violent incidents plaguing the Western Cape communities (“New station planned”, Plainsman, May 23).
Base camps have also been set up in Worcester, Steenberg, Ravensmead and Philippi East.
Brigadier Novella Potelwa, SAPS Western Cape spokesperson said the base camps were for effective and speedy response to incidents of crime.
Searches for wanted suspects, search and seizure operations as well as intelligence gathering were some of the responsibilities of Operation Thunder forces.
Brigadier Potelwa said significant inroads had been made since the inception of the operation, which had resulted in the stabilisation of some serious crime categories.
“In some instances, the visibility of these forces have served as a deterrent to would-be offenders,” she said.
The additional deployments have also bolstered station and cluster personnel, thereby serving as force multipliers.
She said SAPS’ crime pattern analysis would guide the operation, which would be adapted to be a step ahead of criminal activity.
“SAPS remain committed to rooting out serious violent crimes including gang violence in the Western Cape,” she said.
Brigadier Potelwa appealed to the affected communities to support the police’s crime fighting initiatives. “The war against gang violence and its manifestations can be won if we join hands against criminality,” she said.
Provincial detectives have in the past few years secured the convictions and hefty sentences in the Western Cape High Court for gang leaders who were charged in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).
This piece of legislation also looks into assets being acquired through proceeds of crime and gang activity. In the lower courts such as Athlone and the Khayelitsha Priority Court with the assistance of dedicated prosecutors, a number of gang leaders received an array of sentences.