To quell gang violence, Mitchell’s Plain crime fighters, local police and its Anti-Gang Unit have increased visibility, raided drug dens, confiscated firearms and made several arrests.
Speaking to the Plainsman during a joint operation on February 1 which included the Anti-Gang Unit, the Crime Prevention Unit, the Tactical Response Team, members of the community police forum and neighbourhood watches, Mitchell’s Plain police station commander, Brigadier Cass Goolam, said while gang violence had increased in recent weeks, the police had had several successes.
The unit was launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele in November last year, in an effort to fight the scourge of gangsterism.
It is made up of members of specialised units with the objective to “dislodge and terminally weaken the capacity of the gangs”, and to disorganise and disable the criminal economy linked to gangsterism, including drug and firearm supply lines.
During Friday’s operation, between 7.30pm and midnight, the police raided seven alleged drug dens; arrested eight people, including wanted suspects; recovered stolen property; seized 164 litres of alcohol, firearms and cash totalling R48 000, allegedly from the proceeds of crime.
Two men were found to be wanted for theft of a motor vehicle and malicious damage to property.
They were all due to appear in Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court this week.
At a house in Korfbal Street, Beacon Valley, police arrested five men and a woman and confiscated a suspected stolen motorcycle and seized R17 500 in cash, which were stuffed in pillow cases.
The woman, who was married to a member of the Mongrels gang, who was killed recently, said she sold takkies with her daughter.
An Anti-Gang Unit police officer counted the money in front of the woman, and sealed it in a forensic bag.
Police also seized R30 610 at a house in North West Street, Rocklands.
Crime fighters and local police officers also walked the streets of the Town Centre, Eastridge and Tafelsig, stopping and searching suspicious looking people.
Brigadier Goolam spoke to the community about recent stone throwing in Tafelsig and children being on the streets late at night.
“The challenge is parents, who do not intervene when their children throw stones, join gangs or hide contraband. They stand on the sidelines and cheer their children on,” he said.
He called on religious institutions and non-government organisations to educate the community daily on legislation, like the Children’s Act. “It determines how we deal with children, who are hostile,” he said.
Brigadier Goolam said he would detain children until their parents came, to arrest the adults, would should be held responsible.
Crime fighters applauded the the joint initiative, which they hope will result in a decrease of crime.
Abie Isaacs, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF), welcomed Brigadier Goolam back, following his suspension relating to the disappearance of 15 state-issued 9mm pistols firearms from the station in August 2017 (“Missing guns probe”, Plainsman, September 20 2017). He was then again suspended last year for allegedly talking to the media about his first suspension in November 2017.
Brigadier Goolam returned to the hot seat in December last year and was on leave the first two weeks of January.
Mr Isaacs labelled the brigadier’s suspension as a witch-hunt and said that since September 2017 they had been saying that their station commander was innocent, which was proved in the disciplinary hearing.
He also called on President Ramaphosa to investigate discord in SAPS provincial level policing, which filtered down to stations, affecting service delivery.
“If you look at crime statistics, for the Western Cape, in the past three years, it has drastically escalated and we are calling on the president to establish a commission of inquiry to ascertain, what is happening at the provincial level of SAPS,” he said.
Mr Isaacs said through partnership policing, the community and the police could and had contributed to the decrease in crime.