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Speaker notes by the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele at the Media Briefing outlining progress to date on Operation Lockdown in the Western Cape, held on Monday 12 August 2019 in Mitchells Plain

Western Cape; 12 August 2019

Deputy Minister of Police, Mr Cassel Mathale;
Acting National Commissioner, Lt General Vuma;
Deputy National Commissioner for Policing, Lt General Masemola;
Acting Provincial Commissioner; Lt General Mfazi;
SAPS Top Management;
Senior Representatives from government departments present.
Members of the Media.

I address this media briefing today, following the official commencement of Operation Lockdown in the Western Cape and the subsequent deployment of the South African National Defence Force, in the crime hotspots of the Cape Flats and Cape Town Metropole.

The announcement for the operational intervention was made during my budget vote debate in parliament on the 11th of July 2019. Therefore members of the media allow me to give a brief background and context that necessitated government intervention in the form of the Operation Lockdown.

A spike in cases of murder, attempted murder and other serious violent crimes in certain parts of Cape Town townships and the Cape Flats elicited an outcry from different sectors of society that called for immediate intervention in an effort to stabilise the situation.

The unfortunate situation reached the pinnacle during the weekend of 31ST of May to 2nd of June 2019 recording 73 murders. That was followed by shooting incidents in July 2019 that sent shock waves in Philippi East when 13 murders happened within 48 hours.

Of that number of fatalities, six young women between the ages of 18 and 26 were killed in one incident in Marcus Garvey. Young children in these communities have not been sparred either, with some getting caught in the cross fire between warring gangs.

As these violent incidents occurred, communities felt they were under siege. Their cries for intervention grew even louder, prompting members of the National CPF board seeking an audience with the Minister of Police.

Their plea was for intervention in the form of the deployment of the SANDF to areas plagued by violent crimes. Meanwhile engagements continued between the police and some affected communities.

All of the occurrences referred to above, culminated in the announcement of the deployment of additional forces (inclusive of the SANDF) to some parts of Cape Town, in a bid to quell violent incidents thereby stabilising the affected areas. Operation Lockdown was henceforth born.

Under the auspices of the NATJOINTS, the integrated forces embarked on various intelligence-led operations, raids, cordon and searches, road blocks and vehicle checkpoints at about 15 identified precincts since 12 July 2019.

Meanwhile detectives, at times with support from uniform members, have been hard at work executing search warrants in an effort to trace wanted suspects.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the progress made since the start of the operations:

1004 (One thousand and four) suspects have been arrested for various crimes including Murder, attempted murder, armed robberies and hijackings.

Members of the media, tracing operations resulted in the arrest of 806 wanted suspects, for a series of crimes including:

Domestic violence, armed robbery, high-jacking Assault GBH.

Others are behind bars for possession of firearms and ammunition as well as dealing in drugs and alcohol.

On the gang front, we continue making inroads in dealing with gang violence, currently 20 members a notorious gang are before the Western Cape High Court. They are charged in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act.

The following have also been confiscated during the operations

Firearms – 45

Ammunition - 1036

Knives- 78

And an assortment of drugs and other illegal substances.

As integrated forces continue to conduct targeted operations we realise that it is still early days as more operations are set to take place in the affected areas.

We have also learnt that policing efforts will be quite meaningful if the generators of crime are addressed. Illegal liquor outlets continue to aggravate serious violent crimes. The proliferation of illegal firearms count for the majority of murder and attempted murder cases recorded.

A range of socio- economic factors impede policing efforts in the communities plagued by serious violent crimes.  The challenge of learners who do not attend school further perpetuates the cycle of violence as they fall into the hands of gang leaders and criminals. Poor lighting, access roads and lack of formal housing are but some factors that adversely affect the policing of certain communities.

In conclusion, the additional forces on the ground remain committed in ridding Cape Town communities of gang violence and its manifestations.

We again urge members of the community to work closely with the Joint security forces and support them with information on any criminal activities, be it the peddling of drugs, firearms, ammunition and any planned attacks.

In the same breath, we acknowledge the role played by scores of community volunteers, neighbourhood watches, crime fighters and civil society in their efforts to rid communities of the scourge of criminality.

We acknowledge that crime is stabilising however we would have love to see the figures dropping even further, with concerted effort we are working towards reducing the figures even further.

It’s important to note Operation Lockdown remains a temporary initiative.

On the policing front we need to prepare ourselves for a period when these additional forces are withdrawn.

I have said this before and I will say it again, criminals… particularly gangsters and gang leaders – Your days are numbered!

As the law enforcement arm we realise so much still needs to be done. With community members working with us, we are confident of turning the corner in our quest to create safer communities.

Thank you.


Ms Lirandzu Themba
082 884 7106;
Brigadier Novela Potelwa
082 559 4676

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