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Minister Bheki Cele honours promise to visit Northern Areas over gang violence

By Afikile Lugunya - Dec 11, 2018
Minister Bheki Cele honours promise to visit Northern Areas over gang violence

As promised at last week's visit, Minister of Police, General Bheki Cele, returned to Port Elizabeth to conduct a walk-about of the Northern Areas, which he had missed due to unforeseen circumstances last week.

Cele was accompanied by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service (SAPS), General Khehla Sitole; Eastern Cape Transport, Safety and Liaison MEC, Weziwe Tikana, and Eastern Cape SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lt Gen Liziwe Ntshinga.

They visited the home of a 10-year-old boy, who was shot in the cheek by a stray bullet after being caught in a cross-fire during a gang shooting.

Another girl, who lives three houses away from him, was shot in the back.  Luckily they survived the shooting with wounds.

Minister Cele's visit to the Northern Areas - Extension 12, in Gelvandale, was to see for himself and meet with families to get a first hand account of what was is happening in the area. 

Cele heard from residents that in a 9km radius, from 1 April to now, at least 90 people were killed in gang violence. 

"We are marginalized because we are on the far side of PE.  Within our areas,  Booysen Park needs a police station and recreational facilities for children," said a resident.

"Minister we came because we care.  Our children are turning to gangsterism because of unemployment. Your government has failed us. We have a new president, a new minister and new Commissioner and hope this time you will deliver."

Speaking to the media, Minister Cele said that as police they will continue to strive to make lives of others - especially of young kids, better.

"I'm told that there are no public parks here for children to play; you play on the streets where the gangsters also play their dirty games and become victims and that needs to stop."

Cele said that the only way to stop the violence, crime and deaths was to stop the gangsters.

"We are working hard on that, but will be working hard with the other departments. This is the Provincial project of the police, but we will work with other departments.

"Some people told me that there is a high level of people not going to school and a high level of unemployment amongst young people so those are the things that the government must work on," the Minister said.

"As SAPS, it is our job is to stop the killings and make sure that kids are safe and are given an opportunity to be young."

Northern Areas' young people warned about joining gangs

Meanwhile, the junior Provincial Commissioner, Andiswe Sango, sent out a strong message to the youth and communities in Bethelsdorp, at the community engagement.

"Gangsterism is one of the contributing factors in the increasing number of drop outs at schools. Quiting school to join a gang is not securing a bright future for yourselves," she said. 

"Many young people join gangs because they feel pressured by their friends and it feels like it is the new cool thing but little do they know that if they get caught  they could be jailed and there is a very high possibility that they may get involved in gang wars and might get killed.

"My dear people, enough is enough. We as a community need to be bold. We need to own the city. Nelson Mandela Bay is our city, let us take charge and let us report the gangsters to the police. The youth is lost to Gangsterism - our family members get killed  by these gangsters.

"Parents please look out  for the change in the behaviour of your  children.  I appeal to my peers,please don't join these gangs.There is so much S.A. can offer us as youth."

She received a loud applause of approval from the audience and panel of dignitaries.

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