Police Ministry calls for urgent integrated crime prevention interventions in Westbury

The Police Ministry has called for a “whole of government and society” approach in fighting crime and preventing the proliferation of gang violence in the Sophiatown precinct in Johannesburg, Gauteng.

On Thursday, the Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, led a delegation of the South African Police Service (SAPS), as well as the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko. They visited the policing area following an escalation of gang and drug related shootings in the Westbury and Newclare townships.

In the last week, six separate shooting incidents have claimed the lives of two people and 11 others were injured.

In a statement, the Police Ministry said Gauteng SAPS have since responded to the shootings through the additional deployment of specialised units of the service. They have also increased the police footprint on the ground.

Police are “tracking and tracing” those responsible for the rampant violence that continues to threaten overall safety of residents, SAPS said.

Following his visit to the area and speaking with community leaders, Cele has ordered for more sustainable interventions to deal with crime and the causes of crime in the area.

“It is quite clear that this community is in desperate need of complimentary interventions to address the drivers of crime such as poverty, inequality, unemployment, social welfare, housing and education.

“While police have to combat and investigate crime, a ‘whole government and whole society’ solution is the only way to permanently silence the guns,” Cele said.

The Ministry said that a return visit has been planned for 7 March 2023 to further assess the policing interventions in the Sophiatown policing area.

During the visit, the Minister and his delegation will also engage the community on the multi-pronged crime prevention intervention that will be ushered in, with the support of the provincial government, in line with the Integrated Crime and Violence Prevention Strategy.

Source: South African Government News Agency