The Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Community Safety has called on the MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko and the Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela to appear before the committee to discuss criminal gang activity in the province.
Both the MEC and the Police Commissioner are expected to appear before the Committee virtually today to give a detailed account on how they are dealing with the scourge of organized criminal gangs in the province.
According to the Committee, this is an effort to eradicate the existence of violent activities perpetuated by the gangs in communities. It comes after a number of community members had marched to their nearest police stations to complain about organized criminal gangs terrorizing them.
Over a week ago, residents of Atteridgeville marched to their police station to hand over a memorandum in protest of crime in their community.
Though the Committee strongly condemns the approach taken by the community of Atteridgeville of burning tyres and blocking roads during their protest, the Committee feels that members of the community were raising legitimate concerns.
The Committee is also concerned about media reports of organized criminal gangs in Mamelodi which have been there for years instilling fear in the community.
The Committee has learned of three notorious gangs called Boko Haram, Farasai and the Al Qaeda which are alleged to be operating in Mamelodi.
It is alleged that these organized criminal gangs specialize in business extortion, hijackings, murder and drugs dealings.
The increasing number of media reports around gang related activities especially in Mamelodi suggests that more needs to be done to fight the scourge of crime.
The Committee is of the view that the terror caused by these gangs has no place in society and that law enforcement agencies must develop gang targeted strategies aimed at dismantling every opportunity that allows them to prevail in communities.
It is for this reason that the Committee feels that the police must give an account on their strategies to deal with gang-related activities in order to allow Members of the Committee to interrogate the effectiveness of these strategies and provide appropriate recommendations where necessary.
The Committee also feels that communities must play an active role as part of joint intervention strategies aimed at creating gang and crime free communities by reporting gang-related activities.
“Law Enforcement Authorities should demonstrate and value this form of partnership by prioritizing the protection of those reporting these crimes.
“This will lead to a more structured and coordinated approach of fighting gangsterism in Gauteng thus creating a province where every resident is safe,” the Portfolio Committee on Community Safety said in a statement.