43 weekend murders in Cape Town despite heavier police presence

Police Minister Bheki Cele PHOTO: JACQUES NELLES

As many as 43 people were murdered at the weekend in the Western Cape, the premier of the province Alan Winde has revealed.

South African National Defence Force (SANDF) troops have arrived in the Western Cape last week. However, by Friday they had not deployed as initially announced by Police Minister Bheki Cele. The correct authorisations and paperwork still needed to be completed before they could be deployed.

In a statement late Monday, Winde said: “A total of 43 murders were recorded by our forensics services over the weekend period, despite police also claiming a heavier presence.”

Winde added: “SAPS (South African Police Service) started running a National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) operation on Thursday night in the areas of Philippi, Steenberg and Delft.

“We welcome the fact that 143 arrests were made, and guns and drugs confiscated, but despite this heavier police presence, and Minister Bheki Cele himself going out on patrol, 43 people were still murdered- some of them in the very areas where the operation was targeted.

“We will be placing watching briefs on these 143 arrests, to ensure that these cases are properly investigated and prosecuted.”

The statement issued by Bianca Capazorio, spokesperson for Winde, said Mfuleni recorded the highest weekend death toll, with six murders in total. Delft and Samora Machel each recorded four murders, while Mitchell’s Plain saw three.

Of the 43 people murdered, 25 were shot, and 12 were stabbed with a sharp object.

Winde said: “During the weekend’s Crime Summit, I committed to working with SAPS to ensure that policing in this province is a top priority for all concerned.

“However, Minister Cele has taken this to mean that we have withdrawn our Intergovernmental Dispute. The dispute is still in place. We agreed to work together, and committed that our government will partner in anyway possible to make this province safer.

“We will discuss the intergovernmental dispute and various other commitments made during the Crime Summit, at our cabinet meeting on Wednesday. We will also be meeting with the national Police Commissioner later this week.

“We will only withdraw the dispute if we can see a working partnership, with agreements in place that will make this province safer.”

“This weekend’s murder rate is proof that there is no time to waste in deploying the army, and I call on Minister Cele and President (Cyril) Ramaphosa to get the paperwork out of the way as quickly as possible so that no more lives are wasted.”

On Sunday Police Minister Cele said 141 wanted suspects had been arrested in Cape Town over the weekend.

“Gangsters are beginning to spread around,” said Cele suggesting that gangsters were feeling the heat and fleeing to other provinces. “But we will deal with that.”

– African News Agency (ANA)