Cape Town gang wars: City investing millions in tech to tackle violence, but opposition unconvinced


Mayor of the local municipality of Stellenbosch, Gesie van Deventer, and city manager, Geraldine Mettler, watch CCTV footage at the opening of their new control room.

  • Cape Town plans to invest millions in technology to combat gang violence.
  • It comes after sboos at Manenberg, Hanover Park and Khayelitsha.
  • Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said the city planned to inject more resources into safety and security.

Cape Town is going all out to tackle gang violence in Cape Flats hotspots, spending millions and investing in high-end technology.

At a full council meeting on Thursday, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis announced the city’s plans.

He said:

There seems to be an escalation in gang violence in the city. I don’t know if Crime Intelligence, SAPS or the public know what is driving this problem. What I am extremely proud of is that when there have been escalations in violence, there has been no disgust or fear on the part of our law enforcement.

Hill-Lewis added that the city has worked hard with police to end the gang war.

“This underscores the interventions we are making by budgeting for 150 additional police officers this year alone, 80 auxiliary officers and 230 additional officers. ‘order.

“In addition to this, we are budgeting R60m for CCTV investments, R35m for investments in drones and aerial surveillance, R18m for body cameras and R20m for LPR (peer recognition) cameras. license plates) and additional dash cameras for our vehicles so that our law enforcement officers are more accountable.We are the only law enforcement agency in the nation to do these investments.

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“We don’t just make speeches about resources to make Cape Town safer, we match these verbal commitments with hundreds and millions of rand to make Cape Town safer and end the bloody cycle,” he said. declared.

Shootings broke out in Manenberg on Monday and six people were injured. On Sunday, three family members were shot dead.

In Hanover Park, clashes between rival gangs broke out in broad daylight.

City mayor’s committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, tabled the 2021-2026 CCTV Deployment Plan at the council meeting.

The plan defines priority areas for CCTV installations.

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But it has sparked anger from political parties, who have demanded clearer plans for where the cameras will be deployed.

EFF adviser Ntsikelelo Tyandela said that although the CCTV cameras had been a good complement to the crackdown efforts, “Khayelitsha had nine deaths and yet no CCTV footage was recorded.”

“How does this new plan help the lives lost? These are just hallway talks,” he said.

Cape Colored Congress President Fadiel Adams welcomed the news but added:

The DA is looking to claim victory for what’s been overdue for years as if it’s done the community of color a favor, but is looking to ignore the body count that’s hit six figures due to lack of urgency with which he deals with our lives. To conclude, will the cameras work at full capacity? Because in the past cameras were installed, the money [was] past, but too often the cameras [didn’t] work.

Copy-paste work

ANC caucus leader Xolani Sotashe said Smith’s plan was a cut-and-paste of similar plans over the years.

“Rollout plans are based on old data. What we want to know is how are you using old data to respond to the current situation? A new approach and a new strategy is needed. They are dreaming, but we will see if their dream will be a reality,” he said.

GOOD adviser Suzette Little said: ‘This is another project that only a select few can bid on. We believe more can be done using the money to upgrade areas.’

Smith said there were significant challenges in setting up the tender for a robust deployment.

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“CCTV cameras will help to convict, but only if the police and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) use the camera footage. As little as 15% of the detections related to the criminal incidents we detect are used by the police,” he added. .

He pointed out that CCTV footage continually yields results.

“CCTV can only help with convictions if the crime was committed in full view of CCTV cameras. If the filming takes place in a private home, then you won’t get anything,” he added.

Too little, too late

Hanover Park CPF chairman Ebrahim Abrahams said the cameras proved useless in that area.

“It must be a joint venture. When we went…to do an inspection of the control room, no one was watching it at all. It’s an exercise in futility. The City can’t open criminal files, only the police can and they are not working together,” he said.

Abrahams said the situation had become desperate.

“It’s mind-boggling because they’re constantly giving something back to the community and even though it looks good on paper, the project becomes a white elephant,” he said.

Roegshanda Pascoe, a longtime activist and president of the Manenberg Safety Forum, added that the city plans to install drones and CCTV cameras instead of tackling the problem.

“People in Manenberg and other areas are treated inhumanely and as a result they act that way and the gangs can rule.

“They are violating people’s privacy and freedom of movement and they want us and our people back in a box.

“The violence that afflicts us is used as an excuse to let us live like this, instead of addressing inequalities in our communities,” she added.

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