The South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the Western Cape has called for the removal of Police Minister Bheki Cele and Western Cape safety and security MEC Albert Fritz over what they called a “failure to implement working solutions” in the face of the rising murder rate in the province.
This as the deployment of the South African National Defence Force troops (SANDF) to various areas in the province nears a month.
The organisation claims that the deployment of the SANDF was “bad advice as a quick fix solution to the Western Cape province [and] has had no meaningful impact or improvement to [the] safety and security of our communities”.
Chairperson Thando Dedezana said in a statement on Wednesday: “There must be political accountability for the loss of lives. Following international trends and our own resolve to hold our leaders accountable, Minister Cele and MEC Fritz must vacate their respective offices.
“Minister Cele and MEC Fritz have failed to do their jobs and must face the axe. We need political leadership that efficiently, diligently and with accountability carries out their duties.
“Cele and Fritz must be held accountable for the loss of lives and the continued war zone that is on the Cape Flats,” said Sanco.
On Monday, Premier Alan Winde revealed that a total of 47 people had died over the past weekend – the bloodiest since the deployment of soldiers.
Cele said he had noted the statement, but would not comment on the calls, saying rather: “The energies of the police will not be spared in improving the lives of the people of the Western Cape and in South Africa as a whole.”
“Whoever wants to give input, we are open,” he said.
Fritz, meanwhile, cautioned against what he called cheap politicking, saying: “We must all work together to ensure that gangs can no longer operate without question.”
“The ability of gangs to rule through fear, intimidation, and murder can only be stopped if all spheres of government, law enforcement, the criminal justice system and communities work together,” he said.
The organisation has asked Winde to fire Fritz, and for President Cyril Ramaphosa to remove Cele.