CLASH: JP Smith and Bheki Cele at Bonteheuwel meeting. Photo: ARMAND HOUGH/INLSA
Politics has a way of spoiling everything.

Just look at the mockery the #TotalShutdown campaign has become, after a community meeting with Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, in Bonteheuwel this week.

CAMPAIGN: Residents’ shutdown protest. Photo: NOOR SLAMDIEN/ AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA)

The event followed a day of widespread protest, in which communities all over Cape Town picketed against crime and gangs, and the lack of police resources to keep residents safe.

Credit to the Minister for responding to the people’s pleas, and setting up the meeting on Wednesday.

It was just the platform that was needed to address the plight of communities gatvol of crime.

Community leaders attended, SAPS chiefs were there. Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith and local ward councillor Angus McKenzie were apparently invited.

All the roleplayers in one hall, with one common objective: combating crime.

What could possibly go wrong?

Eish... as soon as the meeting got underway, the characters started performing.

Who? ALL of them.

Look, we all know of a certain band of ANC-aligned activists and unionists from the area who have min tyd vir JP, Angus and the DA crowd.

Whenever they’re in the same room, the sparks fly.

Whenever they’re on the same Facebook page, the insults fly.

This time was no different. The meeting descended into chaos, with JP and Angus accused of calling residents “lowlifes” and “agitators”.

The jeering and heckling got so out of hand that the two City slickers were asked to leave.

Munier still can’t figure out what the point was of booting JP and Angus.

Like them or not, DA or not, they are two elected City officials who have an important role to play in community safety.

Ejecting them from a public meeting is not going to make anyone feel any safer.

Cele, being a minister and all, should have stamped his authority and called the meeting to order.

Instead, he allowed Team DA to be abused and even claimed they had not been invited.

“I was not aware that I invited provincial government to this meeting, but I also could not let this meeting collapse after being asked to engage with the community,” said Cele.

JP later noted: “Strangely Minister Cele at first denied this and after being confronted with the email, acknowledged the invitation. He then asked myself and councillor McKenzie to leave the meeting.”

One thing is for sure, JP made no friends at this meeting.

Mr Popular alienated himself even further from SAPS and residents, by issuing a bitter statement later that day.

Dismissing the community anti-crime campaign as “cheap politics”, he said: “No mistake must be made: the Shutdown group is politically motivated, and it was clear today that the Shutdown protesters do not represent these communities, which is why they could only muster 450 protesters...”

JP then took aim at the Minister, saying: “Minister Bheki Cele’s address today exposed he has no plans to improve policing, that he has only excuses for the SAPS failures and has now called for an imbizo to discuss the policing shortcomings, looking for others to provide him with solutions.”

Ouch... But he has a point.

The people won’t be satisfied with another talk shop. They expect action - and fast.

One positive thing to come out of Cele’s talk was plans to re-establish SAPS’ special gang unit.

Let’s see what comes out of the imbizo.

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