Gang Problem Won’t Be Solved Overnight

At a police portfolio committee meeting in Parliament on Tuesday, civilian police secretary Jenni Irish-Qhobosheane made it clear that solving the gang problem in the Western Cape would not happen overnight.

Irish-Qhobosheane said that it was the drug trade which made the gangs their money that needed to be dealt with. She also added that more opportunities needed to be created for the people living in the affected areas and that would require economic interventions from local, provincial and national government.

Western Cape police commissioner Arno Lamoer agreed with Irish-Qhobosheane and said that while the gang problem was under discussion at government’s justice, crime prevention and security cluster, more departments needed to be involved.

While many opposition MPs have called for the army to be deployed to the affected areas, Lamoer says they do have the problem under control but there are many factors hampering progress such as intimidation and threats toward the local residents and a few cases of corruption.

A common complaint from residents in the affected areas is that gang bosses were working with corrupt police officers. Lamoer said that they were investigating suspected officers and implementing some interventions to prevent this.

“We’re seriously considering rotating officers between police stations. We’ve already done that at the courts because of the high number of escapes.”

MPs have given Lamoer seven days to provide them with details on the number of officers being investigated, as well as the progress of cases against gang bosses.

The civilian police secretariat are supporting the police in their efforts and reminded the committee that the gang and drug problem is not unique to South Africa. Irish-Qhobosheane carried on to say that they were suggesting the disarming of gangsters as this was a big part of the problem.

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