Police Minister Bheki Cele has ordered a thorough investigation into the police’s response to the Zandspruit vigilantism incident, that claimed that lives of eight alleged gang members.
The Minister made the call during a visit to the area on Saturday in the wake of the gruesome Gauteng incident.
Another person was severely injured in the incident which took place in the early hours of Wednesday.
During his community engagement at the weekend, Cele assured Zandspruit residents that their claims of the local police station not responding to their distress calls would be urgently investigated.
Accompanied Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Faith Mazibuko, Cele met with the provincial police management to get a full briefing about the killings and what progress has been made on the case.
In a statement, the Ministry said it also had an engagement with community leadership structures, to find out what could have led the community to take the law into their hands.
“This meeting saw representatives of the local CPF and other recognised community safety structures, expressing the residents policing and safety concerns. They also reported to the police Minister and the provincial police team that the Honeydew police station, which also serves the Zandspruit area, provides poor service to the community.
“They claim the local police are not only corrupt but at times ignore their policing needs. Some in the meeting believe the death of the eight youngsters who were severely assaulted and burnt, could have been avoided if police responded on time,” said the Ministry.
In his address to the community gathered at the local sports grounds, where the murders took place, Cele told residents that he is convinced the community of Zandspruit deserve improved service delivery.
He ordered an urgent probe into why the police response time was slow on the morning of the attacks and has called for heads to roll.
“There is no doubt police in this area have many challenges due to the ever increasing population size and poor living conditions that impede on crime fighting efforts.
“However, some of the problems faced by the police are self-made. It’s really disheartening to hear that calls were made to the police while the youngsters were still alive but yet police vans took hours to respond, so that’s why I have tasked the provincial Commissioner to get to the bottom of these claims and I expect answers in the coming days,” said the Minister.
A police task team has been put together to look at other identified problems within the station as well as relook at all cold cases that have been dragging on with little, to no conclusion.
Cele has committed to return to the area in less than a month’s time, to provide feedback to the residents on what has been done to improve the station’s performance and service delivery.