'It's an attack on the state' - Cele condemns shooting of Anti-Gang Unit members in Cape Town

Police Minister Bheki Cele has issued a 72-hour activation plan for what he calls an "attack on the state", following the shooting of six members of the Western Cape Anti-Gang Unit in Samora Machel in Phillippi, Cape Town, early on Wednesday morning.

"Attacking members of the South African Police Service is an attack on the state," Cele said in a statement.

The six members of the unit were on a tracing operation in the Sweet Home Farm informal settlement and had just apprehended one person allegedly linked to recent murders in Samora Machel.

Police said, as members were searching for another suspect also wanted for serious crime in the area, shots came from one of the shacks.

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"The area is difficult to access, with a terrain that is poorly lit and [which has] shacks erected close to each other. Unfortunately, the area is also a hideout for dangerous criminals. A recent spate of murders took place in the area," said police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa.

Cele wished the six members of the unit a speedy recovery. Two of the six members were in a critical condition, while the other four were receiving medical attention.

The shootings come a day after Cele was in Samora Machel to hold a ministerial stakeholder engagement.

On Tuesday, Cele admitted that the Anti-Gang Unit did not have enough officials to deal with crime in the area, saying police were working on ways to better enhance the efficiency of the unit. 

Cele was due to visit the hospitalised officers and the crime scene on Wednesday.