Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Police will on Tuesday evaluate the current anti-gang strategy of the South African Police Service (SAPS) at its first meeting of 2019.
Committee chairperson Francois Beukman on Sunday said SAPS’s ability to deal with organised crime, specifically organised gangs, is key to ensuring that the recommendations of the National Development Plan about the re-establishment of specialised units is fully implemented.
Civil society groups and community leaders from Gauteng, the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State have been invited to the meeting to give testimony on their experiences and concerns about law enforcement in gang infested areas.
“The groups include Community Police Forums, civil society and religious leaders. The committee remains of the view that police stations in gang-infested areas should have competent and experienced station commanders and the necessary resources to deal with the challenges that they encounter daily,” said Beukman.
Parliament Portfolio Committee on Police Chairperson Francois Beukman
He said the committee is of the view that the input of community members, community leaders, trade unions and religious leaders is key to dealing with gang criminality.
“We are looking forward to listening to their input and contributions.”
Beukman said the committee is concerned about reports of more than 185 people having been killed in gang related violence on the Cape Flats since March 2018.
“The number of young children who have been maimed and killed in the cross-fire of gang groups is totally unacceptable. All role players ranging from parents, schools, business, religious groupings and the different levels of government should work shoulder to shoulder to address the root causes.
“It is not a mere law and order issue but inter alia a socio-economic matter due to the legacy of apartheid spatial planning and lack of economic and social investment in the specific affected areas.
“The availability of illegal firearms in gang infested communities is also a major concern and needs non-stop intervention by Crime Intelligence and the Specialised Unit of the DPCI (Hawks),” said Beukman.
The committee is equally concerned about the support given to Community Police Forums in hotspot areas. This follows the shooting of CPF member, Ms S Daniels in Eastridge, Mitchell’s Plain, on 28 January this year. Mr A Peyper, a CPF member from Hercules, was also shot in a targeted business robbery last week.
“The committee will seek assurances from the National Police Management and Civilian Secretariat on Police on Tuesday to ensure that Community Police Forums in hotspot areas receive the necessary support,” Beukman said.