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Rhoda Kadalie
3 minute read
20 Oct 2017
5:35 am

Mbalula’s police lose gang battle war

Rhoda Kadalie

Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula is patently incapable of doing his job.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula embarks on an inspection of the parade at the Tshwane Training Academy during the re-launch of the SAPS Tactical Response and Tracking Teams, 29 September 2017, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Wednesday morning I took a friend to the Cape Town airport. We were met with a cordon of police, officers in forensic gear, and cameras.

I found out that someone had opened gunfire on an alleged gang rival, shooting randomly at the alleged target who disembarked from an early flight, harming ordinary passengers in its wake.

The question is: where is airport security? What is Acsa doing to prevent this kind of reckless criminal behaviour that has no respect for sacrosanct public places? When gang rivals brazenly fight their battles in the open they are confident they can get away with it.

Recently a similar shootout happened at Cubana in Stellenbosch where a young mother of two kids was killed. Cubana is a club where young people, mostly students, hang out.

Rumour has it these public shootings are the stuff of gang-related underworld rivalries. Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula is patently incapable of doing his job.

Since occupying his job, he has been rather gung-ho, with little to show for all his bluster. We have no idea what his crime prevention strategy is.

The gangs involved in Wednesday’s shooting have been around for decades. The Sexy Boys and the 26ses, their rivals The Firm and the 28s, have been at war with each other since time immemorial.

The communities know about them but live in fear and will never inform the police about their transgressions.

That is why intelligence, helplines, and rewards are key in helping police weaken them.

There is no policing strategy to get rid of the gangs. In fact, the police proves the research done by Jonny Steinberg in the book The Thin Blue Lin:, they focus on domestic violence, sexual assault and petty crimes, because they are simply incapable of dealing with the gangs, druglords, and hard-core crime.

The media, the political elite, and the ruling party love to ridicule President Donald Trump but when he got into power he immediately clipped the wings of the notorious MS-13 gang that flourished under Obama’s rule and terrorised US citizens.

Heavily tattooed, the motto “Kill, Rape Control” emblazoned across their bodies, they grew and grew the more the police ignored them.

When Trump took over, he decimated the gang, knowing that unless the police demonstrated a show of strength, MS-13 would flourish. He pushed stringent law enforcement measures against illegal immigration and aggressive and ongoing prosecution of offenders. He did the same with Black Lives Matter.

Law enforcement agencies in SA are too politicised for their own and our good. State Security, the National Prosecuting Authority, the South African Police Service, Correctional Services and intelligence need to work together to eradicate the gangsters.

They need effective intelligence to weaken the scourge of lawlessness. The gangsters know that the state is weak and take liberties not only to kill off their rivals but also to intimidate the public and the police.

It is true that some police stations are protected by ADT; it is true that hundreds of police weapons had disappeared or were stolen from their stations this year alone; it is true that the conviction rate is extremely low, given the weakness of the detective and forensic services.

For as long as gangs have better equipment and intelligence than the police, gang-warfare will continue.

FILE PICTURE: Rhoda Kadalie, anti-apartheid activist.

FILE PICTURE: Rhoda Kadalie, anti-apartheid activist.