Clamping down on gangs

STAFF REPORTER

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, accompanied by the police and the community police forum (CPF), did a walk-about in Manenberg and Heideveld on Tuesday March 15, to educate the community about the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).

The Act states that if anyone – without perpetrating a criminal offense – is found to belong, incite violence, intimidate or recruit members for a gang, they can be prosecuted.

The walk-about forms part of Mr Plato’s safety outreach campaign, which saw him visiting various communities on the Cape Flats.

His message was clear – if communities continue to violate laws – like dealing in drugs and participating in other illegal activity from City of Cape Town rental stock, action will be taken to evict them from these premises. Mr Plato added that it is a serious offence when anyone supports gangs and their activity.

Mr Plato’s spokesperson, Ewald Botha, said: “Our priority will be to gather information which can assist the police in ridding communities of criminal elements through the enforcement of POCA. The POCA makes provision for arrests as a result of offences ranging from racketeering, gangsterism and unlawful activity – which can include drug, alcohol and firearm offences. The Act makes it possible to not only target those guilty of the offence but those who are protecting offenders.

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility and, through a whole of society approach, we aim to ensure that concerns are effectively addressed and that credible information is provided to the SAPS for their investigations.”

Major General Vincent Beaton, Nyanga Cluster Commander, encouraged the youth to take a stand against gangs and to focus on their studies.

“Education is the gateway to root out gangs and end poverty. The youth need to be inspired within the communities they live. Parents need to take greater responsibility and ensure their children strive to become the great people they ought to be. Parents must also know where their children are and who they are with. It is through very little parental participation and involvement that the youth belong to gangs,” Major General Beaton said.

He also expressed his concern about police officers who are not delivering quality and efficient services to the community.

He encouraged the community to report the lack of service in the area, so that he can deal with it.

Manenberg CPF chairperson, Kadar Jacobs, reiterated the importance of working with the police. He said the attacks on police when executing their duties, will not be tolerated.