The ongoing gang violence in Port Elizabeth has claimed 117 lives in the last two years. This emerged in a reply to a legislature question I asked the MEC for Safety and Liaison, Helen Sauls-August. For the reply, click here.
This is a horrific figure and it has turned our community into a war zone.
The heavy toll on human life has resulted in a number of innocent bystanders being tragically killed and injured. Just over the weekend a five-year-old PE boy, Neilon Peters was the latest victim when he suffered injuries from a bullet wound in his face.
Whereas the Democratic Alliance is appreciative of the work done by the Gelvandale police station and the SAPS gang task team, we do not believe that these efforts are the only solution. More resources need to be harnessed to stamp out this danger from our society.
The DA believes that the specialised SAPS anti-gang unit and narcotics bureau (the drug squad) need to be re-established as a matter of urgency. Specialised units were disbanded in the time when Jackie Selebi was the national commissioner of police. We are now paying a heavy price. Greater use of technology such as CCTV cameras needs to be utilised.
Specialised units with a national footprint are necessary to eradicate this scourge of gangsterism and drugs in our province. Gangsters and drugs are linked to organised crime that is connected across the country. It therefore requires a nationally coordinated effort spearheaded by specialised units to eradicate this problem.
We agree with the MEC’s response that a multi-disciplinary team is necessary to deal with the problem. However we believe that Correctional Services should be part of that team so parole violations can be dealt with.
The DA expresses its sympathies with the families of the many innocent victims who have lost their lives or been injured. No stone must be left unturned by the SAPS to restore a climate of safety and security to our community.