Over 100 people have been murdered in the Western Cape, in the space of a week – including women, children, professionals, breadwinners and police officers.
This grim figure was revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele who briefed the media yesterday on efforts to reduce crime in the province through the police’s multi-disciplinary Operation Shanela initiative.
Cele says more police visibility is being rolled out in the province’s identified hotspot areas as gangs are trying to unleash fear in communities such as Gugulethu, Manenburg and Ravensmead, where recent mass shootings have occurred.
In one of the mass shootings in Gugulethu, over this past weekend, five people were killed, including a close protector of the Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale. It was the second mass shooting in the area in just over a week.
Cele says as a preventative measure, a decision has been made to saturate the area with different disciplines of SAPS combat units operating within the Gugulethu area.
In another gruesome crime, a decapitated body was found in Beacon Valley on Monday night. Images of the victim’s body lying on the corner of Greyville and Metropolitan Streets were shared on social media Tuesday afternoon.
The head of the victim was found in a bag on the scene.
It is clear, there is a new crop of criminals who want to claim their space and believe in using brazen violence to do so. They must be stopped; at all costs.
Cele says since the launch of Operation Shanela in May this year, over 155 thousand suspects have been arrested for contact and serious crimes such as murder, rape, robberies and hijacking throughout the country.
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Operation Shanela was launched in the Western Cape five months ago, and Cele says since then 1 365 firearms have been removed off the streets along with 31 851 rounds of ammunition.
He says SAPS in this province have in the past six months arrested 978 murder suspects and removed 941 more individuals for their alleged attempts to kill another person.
Cele has vowed that criminals will be dealt with.
I wish to end my address by emphasizing the point that South Africa is not and will never be a haven for criminals. The long arm of the law will not be selective nor will it be kind.