WC crime crisis – where are the cops?

Staff Writer | Jul 09, 2019
Fifty-five people died of gunshot or stab wounds in the Western Cape between midnight on Friday and 6am yesterday morning.

There were 13 murders on the Cape Flats alone, prompting Philippi East ward committee member for safety and security Xolisa Pukayi to characterise the spike in violent crime as ‘war and mayhem’.

He told News24: ‘We don't need [police] anymore. They have failed us too many times. We need the army. And if they can't be deployed, we will have to do it ourselves.’

City of Cape Town mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said every time there was a flare-up of violence, this pointed to the fact that the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the Western Cape was ‘woefully under-resourced’ compared to the rest of the country.

‘Our appeals to national government to address the issue cannot continue to go unheard. We ask – yet again – that they take extraordinary steps to fill the estimated 4 500 policing posts that the Western Cape has lost in the last four years,’ he said.

Figures show the murder rate in Philippi East has increased by 180% over five years from 2013/14 to 2017/18.

The bodies of six young women, aged between 18 and 26, were discovered in the area on Friday night. They had been shot dead. Late on Saturday afternoon, the bodies of three men were found in a house in Lower Crossroads. On Saturday night, three men were gunned down in a shooting at a tavern in Lower Crossroads. Two died – one from a bullet to the head and the other from a shot to his upper body. The third victim was shot in the stomach and survived, sources said. Two other murder cases were opened. One was for a man from Better Life who had been stabbed in his head and upper body. The other was for a woman whose lifeless body was found behind a shack after she had been stabbed.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said yesterday: ‘“Between midnight Friday and 06:00 today [Monday], there were 55 unnatural deaths which resulted from gunshot wounds and sharp objects in the Province, 33 of which were in the Metro West region. We are indeed facing a crisis. In June 2018, there were 344 alleged murder admissions; however, in June 2019, there were 448. Of the 448 admissions, 369 were in the metro.’

He said the figures were ‘deeply chilling’ and it was for this reason that ‘I have called on the SANDF (SA National Defence Force) to be immediately deployed to our communities. In the past, communities have called for a state of emergency and this is something that the national government needs to consider in a bid to bring peace to the area.’

Police Minister Bheki Cele told a community meeting in Philippi East last evening ‘that proper interventions will be made to address policing in the area’, according to IOL.


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