Releasing the latest crime statistics in Parliament on Tuesday, Police Minister Bheki Cele said out of the 973 gang killings recorded, 808 happened innie Kaap.
In recent weeks, several communities have taken to the streets to protest against gang violence on the Cape Flats, but Cele says more needed to be done to address the “culture of gangsterism” in the Cape.
“Gangsterism has one of the oldest histories in the country. There are gangsters who are gangsters because they saw it in the house and that is the only reason,” he said.
“It is very addictive and there is an overtone of power, drugs, guns and territories. The worst of them is that they are getting younger and we do arrest them (the children), but the courts tell us to send them back to their mothers.”
He says when visiting Kraaifontein recently he got a skrik to hear a 17-year-old boy talk about his plan to kill someone in a revenge attack.
“They came for him, but killed his brother and I was really sympathetic and he told me he is going to shoot that guy’s mother. I was really taken aback and then his mother said: ‘Yes, shoot his mother’.
“Now what do you do with that culture where mothers support it? So gangsterism is far beyond the issue of policing. It is more of a societal issue.”
Commenting on the national crime figures, Cele said between April 2017 and March 2018, a shocking 20 336 people were killed.
Cele said an average of 57 people are being killed in South Africa every day.
He hung his head in shame and said cops “had dropped the ball”.
He warned top cops would face the axe if the situation does not improve in a year.
The Western Cape had the fourth highest murder rate in the country. However, the Nyanga police precinct remains the country’s murder capital, recording 308 cases in just one year.
Cele told journalists: “The SA Police Service will declare upfront that somewhere, somehow we dropped the ball. I am not saying who exactly has dropped that ball, but I am saying that if you have not dealt with the murders you have not dealt with the problem.”
The statistics showed seven Western Cape police stations have been ranked in the top 10 murder stations.
These are Nyanga, Philippi East, Delft, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Gugulethu and Mfuleni, and range from 157 to 308 murders.
They are followed by the Harare Police Station, with 142 murders and Mitchells Plain with 140.
Cele also claimed the biggest headache for police in the Western Cape is their “inability” to go after criminals in their own “territory”, where the cops would be in danger.
While DA provincial leader, Bonginkosi Madikizela, says the stats prove the army is needed on the Flats, Cele says the calls for the army have been “political” and he will not respond.
Zakhele Mbhele of the DA said it was ironic police spent R9.1 million to protect one VIP and R1 500 for every citizen.
But Cele denied this, saying many of the ministers’ homes went unguarded because there was no money for it.
He said he gets calls from ministers about this all the time.