Not on my watch

Captain Ian Bennett, Manenberg police spokesperson

One shot is a shot too many.

The Manenberg policing precinct is known as a gang-infested area because of the unusually high level of gang activity in the area.

Gang violence and substance abuse form part of the undertones here and it contributes to the rate of domestic violence and violent crime.

These factors all too often result in dysfunctional families.

Brigadier Enolium Joseph has assessed the situation and wants to follow a new approach in dealing with gangs and their criminal activities.

His zero tolerance approach will see gangs and their leadership held accountable for any gang-related shootings and criminal activities within the area.

Being part of a criminal gang is illegal in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA).

Gang violence is also unconstitutional and violates the community in more ways than one.

Most important is that criminal activities linked to gangs have infringed on the community’s constitutional right to safety and security for decades. The violent nature of criminal gangs has resulted in traumatised communities, so much so that the community has become used to violence and substance abuse.

This is specifically the norm within poverty- stricken communities.

Since the promul-gation of the POCA, the approach to policing gang violence in our country as a whole has been steered into a new direction. It gave a new dimension to dealing with gangs and their activities.

It has changed the perception of communities that nothing can be done to gang bosses and their henchmen.

Children in gang-infested areas cannot play safely in open spaces and recreational areas and cannot move around freely without fear of being intimidated or harmed during gang shootings.

Teens are being influenced and forced into joining gangs with very little choice. Often they are bullied and tattooed against their will to become part of gangs.

Their association with gangs often starts with merely growing up in an area where gang activities are the order of the day.

Communities have also become complacent about gunfire and the wrongs associated with gang activity in the Manenberg policing precinct.

The abuse of substances is rife and is a main source of income for gangs.

This leads to the community’s moral fibre decaying, which leaves children neglected and violated, and senior citizens traumatised.

Gangs have also violated community members by using a violent approach and subtle intimidation to gain community protection.

This will not be tolerated under his watch as station commander, said Brigadier Joseph.

A clear message is sent out to gangs and their leaders that the police will not hesitate to arrest any gang member and their leadership when shootings occur that jeopardise the safety of the community within the Manenberg policing precinct.

The violation of citizens of the country’s rights will not be tolerated. The suffering of communities at the hands of individuals who associate themselves with gangs must stop now.

One shot is a shot too many.