Weighing in

Mogamat Keraan, Tafelsig

The South African Police Service (SAPS) and their political heads have designed their so-called new national anti-gangsterism strategy, to mobilise and organise communities against gangs and their criminal activities.

This launch in the Western Cape came about after 33 firearms apparently went missing as per your report.

This strategy is again dumped at the door of the dysfunctional community police forums (CPFs) to collaborate with SAPS.

According to legislation and the Police Act, the CPF is supposed to partner SAPS in crime prevention.

The years that I have been involved with the CPF have proved to me that when the media and politicians are present, SAPS and the hierarchy toe the line in terms of policy but when we deal with real issues there is no service delivery.

Most of my involvement with the local CPF has been around crime prevention initiatives that would take the community forward.

However, I found in Mitchell’s Plain that when a proposal is tabled, it is ridiculed due to you not being in favour of the CPF executive.

Thestoryalso quotes local CPF chairperson Abie Isaacs as saying that he does not yet know how the anti-gang strategy would work or how they would be able to help.

CPFs are supposed to be civilian oversight over SAPS.

(But), how many CPFs have actually addressed the issue of the rising gang violence and drug dealing? In reality it is only what SAPS allow them to have that they report on or act on.

When the crime stats for Mitchell’s Plain were released a few years ago, I asked if there were so many drug related arrests in Mitchell’s Plain, how many of those were actually drug dealers?

(I also asked) why is SAPS making criminals of our youth, who are apprehended with the so-called illegal substance?

Our youth cannot find employment, because they now have a criminal record.

What is SAPS doing to rectify the situation?

Why does SAPS do body searches when they do not have warrants?

I agree that gangsterism is destabilising our communities, not only in Mitchell’s Plain but on the Cape Flats.

But, how can any honourable citizen be compliant to the request of this new strategy when the provincial gang strategy is being mothballed or better still the National Crime Prevention Strategy is being ignored in lieu of political alliances and strategies. Somewhere along the line somebody forgot about the National Development Plan.

Your report makes mention of the City of Cape Town’s “Ceasefire project” which is currently running in Hanover Park.

Did anybody ever really investigate how this project runs?

Their objective is to be peace negotiators with the gangs and remove known gunmen from the community. Ironically we find when these elements are removed, gang violence flares up in other areas.

There are various viable alternatives that can and must be implemented. But the question remains is the government prepared to address the real causes of gangsterism and drugs?

Or is this an orchestrated get rich process?

This letter has been shortened – Editor.