Cele pleads with residents to protect their communities

Minister of Police Bheki Cele and National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola were among those who attended a police Imbizo at the Desmond Tutu Hall in Makhaza Khayelitsha on Monday.

The community of Khayelitsha has been called to come together to find a way to stop the violent crime that has the area in its grip.

Since March, there has been a spate of mass shootings in the area, the most recent of which claimed the lives of five people in three separate shootings in Site C, Harare and Makhaza over the weekend.

An imbizo aimed at putting a stop to the killings, and spearheaded by Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF), was attended by Police Minister Bheki Cele, his deputy Cassel Mathale, MEC for Community Safety and Police Oversight Regan Allen, National Police Commissioner, General Sehlahle Fannie Masemola, and Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile.

At Monday’s imbizo, Mr Cele said they would be redeploying police resources to where they were most needed in the province and that 80 police officers had been shifted from more affluent areas where crime was under control, to high priority police stations such as Khayelitsha.

He said that while crime in Khayelitsha appeared to be spiralling out of control, police officers were committed to turning the situation around – but they needed the support of the community.

Citing SAPS crime statistics, he said there were 10 000 cases of rape reported in the country every quarter and urged women not to harbour rapists – even if they were their spouses.

He also called on police officers to handle rape cases with sensitivity and care.

“Should we hear that a police officer turned a rape victim away and instructed her to negotiate with the perpetrator, that police officer should be fired,” he said.

Mr Cele said suggested that police revisit strategies which worked in the past and called for the assistance to community patrollers, CPFs and neighbourhood watches “to be ramped up urgently”.

“It doesn’t make sense why these foot soldiers must use their own airtime and own resources to help fight crime. It simply can’t be the norm and this is why I have called on the National Commissioner to look at funding these structures so they can be effective in their work.”

Mr Allen committed to providing the much needed resources to the community policing structures.