Plato questions Phiyega's gang plan

Cape Town - Clarity is needed on police commissioner Riah Phiyega's plan to combat gang-related crimes, Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said on Tuesday.

Plato said he had written to Phiyega for more information on plans to use "heavily armed" members of the national intervention unit and the public order police.

"While the Western Cape government welcomes any action by the SA Police Service against gangsters, we question whether this deployment is the best solution available."

He said these units were already thinly stretched because of protests.

Using excessive force could also result in more lives being lost instead of much-needed arrests, Plato added.

On Sunday, Phiyega announced in Port Elizabeth that she had heeded a provincial request to allocate more officers to deal with gang-related violence in Mount Road and Motherwell.

She said provincial police commissioner Betty Ngobeni on Friday had welcomed members of the national intervention unit and public order policing from KwaZulu-Natal and the head office in Pretoria.

These officers would work with local police officials to execute a provincial plan for the gang hotspots.

Plato wanted to know where officers would be deployed from, where police shortages would be felt as a result and how long these units would be deployed for.

Phiyega's spokesperson Solomon Mokgale said the duration of the officers' stay would be reviewed after some time and that no police shortages were expected.

Additional officers

Phiyega indicated in her speech on Sunday that she could not say how many additional officers would be deployed or reveal other details because it was "operational information" not normally made public.

However, she trusted that residents would soon see the positive results of the plan.

Plato questioned what long-term measures were being considered to fight gangsters.

He said specialised gang and drug units needed to be reintroduced as they had the necessary resources and expertise.

"Fighting violence with violence is not going to stop gangsterism. Getting gangsters off the streets will," he said.

"Targeted and focused intervention against gangsterism is required through the specialised gang and drug units, if we are to win the war on gangs."

Mokgale said there was a targeted intervention and prevention strategy for the Western Cape called Operation Combat.

The operation had ensured the conviction and sentencing of gang leader Saliem John, the conviction of 16 Fancy Boys gang members and major seizures of firearms and drugs.

The Operation Combat unit was made up of members of the public order policing unit, national intervention unit, tactical response team and detectives.

Mokgale said gangsterism was a challenge mostly in Gauteng, Free State and the Western and Eastern Cape.

With the exception of the Western Cape, gang activity was seasonal and flared up every now and then.

He said there were underlying socio-economic causes of gangsterism and social ills in these areas.

"The police have a vital role to play as visibility and arrests assist with bringing the situation under control but the police will find it extremely challenging to eradicate the problem due to the existence of deep-rooted socio-economic causal factors," he said.


Nin Ja Kitty 2014-08-05 09:09:45 PM
We would all like some clarity on this.
Maphoka Mokutle Beloved 2014-08-05 09:11:22 PM
This is not an easy one
Candza 2014-08-05 09:20:28 PM
Even if they isolate all current gangs by throwing them in a pit and set them alight this will make no difference..As a next generation is and has already been formed.. Gangsterim has deep roots in socio economic issues.. Start at the beginning rebuild communities.. stop abuse educate our youth give them a different meaning to life from what they use too. Only then can you stop a next generation of gangs.. No amount of bullets or bombs can rectify what is wrong with our societies.. Sit down talk build social centres break the cycles of destruction like no weapon of mass destruction can.. Then and only then can there be hope for our societies.
Anthony Richardson 2014-08-05 09:21:15 PM
But didn't the DA ask for the SANDF to be deployed into gang infested areas or am I mistaken?
Akhenaten 2014-08-05 09:24:36 PM
If she had a plan, it would have been implemented. In this instance she should take advice from the local police who know the circumstances. The more of them get locked away the lesser there will be to deal with. Elimination seems like the only solution.
Andrew Terr 2014-08-05 09:43:14 PM
The world cup again!!!Trying the Brazilian pacifying the favela thing Phiyega?MAN,i wish you good luck.
Ndivhu Ramz Ramaru 2014-08-05 10:20:26 PM
Plato is crazy. Not so long DA wanted deployment of soldiers.
Made-In SA 2014-08-05 10:47:13 PM
South Africa wont be free of violence soon.Violence serves the interest of the leaders,be it union leaders,taxi bosses or gangsters.It is all about the money.That is why you see union against union,taxi association against taxi association and gang against gang.Whoever ends up at the top,makes the most money.We don't have moral fibre.How can we, with a president that is the Corruptor in Chief?
Dan Danukdhari 2014-08-05 10:54:31 PM
Plato and the DA aee being dumb idiots now,they wanted the army with heavy calibre weapons and armoured vehicle now they object to more police deployments, with heavy weaponry stop politcking with peoples lives DA because people are dying there
Anthony Gold 2014-08-06 07:40:48 AM
Plato is not the sharpest tool in the shed. We don't need more arrests. The prisons are filled to capacity. We need more deaths. These gangsters don't serve society. They only take from it and should be culled.