Where is SAPS Leadership as Cape Gangs Grow Bolder while Anti-Gang Unit Woes Continue?

ActionSA will write to the Minister of Police and National Commissioner of Police to seek answers for the ongoing challenges plaguing the Anti-Gang Unit (AGU), which was announced in 2018 by President Ramaphosa as an intervention to curb the bloodshed in the Western Cape.

Instead, 6 years later, and true to concerns raised that it was merely a gimmick, the AGU has deteriorated into an under-resourced, leaderless unit with little capacity to effectively confront the gang violence terrorising our communities.

The Unit was poised to represent the government’s tough-on-crime and zero-tolerance approach to gangs, but it has only ever been marred by corruption scandals one after the other, gang infiltration of the unit, and most disturbingly, when AGU member Lieutenant-Colonel Charl Kinnear, despite the evident need for protection, was left defenceless and brutally gunned down outside his home.

Despite these challenges, the Unit continues to be served by dedicated officers who have put their lives on the line to end the terror of gangs with no regard for human life. However, due to a complete failure of SAPS leadership, every one of these officers has seen their efforts go in vain.

The news that the AGU is without a commander presents a clear-cut indication of the Unit’s current status as a limping entity unable to fulfil its mandate of restoring the rule of law in our communities.

This tragic tale of the AGU’s demise, in which many, including myself, had faith, has left communities to fend for themselves, with no real hope of their schools, parks, and streets being free from the influence of ruthless gangs.

We believe that the Minister of Police and SAPS management must be held accountable for how they allowed this deterioration to occur under their watch. Given their general track record, one is doubtful about their willingness to provide a justifiable or even satisfactory explanation.

In the face of this policing crisis and the collapse of the rule of law, which has had a devastating impact on communities, leaving them defenceless and unable to thrive, ActionSA has presented our comprehensive plan to restore the rule of law and safeguard our communities.

Crucially, our plan speaks to the urgent need to better train our officers and expand on the use of specialised units for effective crime fighting, including anti-gangsterism, financial crimes, organised crime, tactical response and economic sabotage units.

We have also identified the need for criminal justice reforms where the rights of innocent, law-abiding citizens come first, and where a capacitated National Prosecuting Authority can effectively prosecute criminals and ensure that these gangs face harsher penalties.

ActionSA is unapologetic about our zero-tolerance approach to criminal gangs that wreak havoc on our communities and will ensure that we match our fight against crime by addressing the socio-economic factors that directly contribute to its prevalence.