/ 26 September 2023

Western Cape is a priority, says Police Minister Bheki Cele

Twenty-seven crime intelligence officers have criminal offences of which, Cele explained, 20 are related to contraventions of the Road Traffic Act and seven are of a more serious nature. David Harrison
Relaxed: Police Minister Bheki Cele. (David Harrison)

The Western Cape has not been ignored in crime statistics, said Police Minister Bheki Cele, adding that “no other province has been given more resources than the Western Cape”.

Cele made the statement during a media briefing on Tuesday about policing successes in South Africa. The briefing was held under the theme Combating Crime through Decisive Police Action and Robust Community involvement for this year’s budget vote.

The Democratic Alliance-run Western Cape, where gang violence is rife, contends it is low on the national government’s policing priority list when it comes to budget allocation. But Cele disagreed, saying “the Western Cape indeed there [has] been work that has been done by the South African police working with the law enforcement and the local people”.

The comment comes after the police minister highlighted some of the work done through Operation Shanela to combat organised crime across South Africa.

“This administration is stamping the authority of the state through the adoption of an aggressive high-density policing approach, Operation Shanela, to conduct crime prevention and combating operations.”

In the past week, the police killed four cash-in-transit heist suspects and arrested three others in Hoedspruit, Limpopo.

In Gauteng, a multidisciplinary team led by the Anti-Kidnapping Task Team rescued an 18-year-old Wits University student from a kidnapping syndicate which is allegedly targeting the LGBTQI+ community through a popular dating app.

In the Eastern Cape, police arrested a gang that had robbed a store of R1 million worth of jewellery. Just hours later, police followed up on information and tracked down and arrested all 10 suspects. All the stolen jewellery was recovered, as well as four firearms. 

According to the South African Police Service, this syndicate is linked to other heists in the country.

In Carolina, Mpumalanga, a mining task team shut down an illegally operated coal mine and seized mining equipment worth more than R60 million as well as coal worth R12 million. A mine manager was arrested and a search is underway for the mine owner.

In the Northern Cape, 867 illegal miners were arrested during an intelligence driven operation in the Namakwa region. 

Cele said safety and security has been restored in eManguzi in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, where people have been living in fear of cross-border vehicle theft syndicates operating in the area, after a task team was sent there. 

Cele commended the police service and other crime intelligence operators who have been clamping down on crime. “Police through their aggressive approach to crime have fired a warning shot to all elements of criminality and those who support crime.”