Minister of Police Bheki Cele has vowed to rid Port Elizabeth’s northern areas of gangsterism. Cele was in Port Elizabeth for the second time on Monday to engage with community members following a scourge of gang-related violence and killings in the city’s northern areas.
The minister visited Bethelsdorp with National Police Commissioner General Khehle Sithole and police top brass, following his initial visit to the area last week.
In November, at least 10 people were killed in the city’s northern areas. Cele announced that a new police station would be built in Booysens Park within the next 10 months, and that 42 police officers would be deployed to deal with ongoing gang violence in Nelson Mandela Bay’s northern areas, which inlcude Gelvandale, Helenvale, Booysens Park and Bethelsdorp.
Cele said an additional 30 officers would be added to the team to specifically deal with gang-related incidents in the Metro, and they will form part of the existing task team which will later be developed into a permanent anti-gang unit.
“I would like to come about April – June to open such a station. The police station we requested is a park home. That is a commitment we make. It is no longer a promise, it is a commitment,” said Cele.
“We were here seven days ago and promised to come with extra resources. When we left, we committed to work and bring stability. The Special Task Force, and NIU including POP if need be, we will include them”.
Cele expressed his condolences to those killed through crime and gangsterism. He also visited the family of victims to get a first-person account of the situation.
Last month, Ruaan Willemse, 8, Deacon van Rooyen, 16, and Chadwin Calvert, 17, died in a hail of bullets in a house in Capulet Street in Booysens Park. Keenan Louw, 26, who was also in the house at the time, subsequently died in hospital. The motive for the attack is still unknown.
An innocent bystander, Ambrose Booi, was shot and killed by a stray bullet in a gang-related incident last month in Bloemendal. Yannivk Jacobs, 30, was shot and killed after opening her front door at her house in Steenbok Street in Gelvandale, and less than 24 hours later, another person, a 24-year-old man was shot dead along Standford Road.
“Junior Provincial Commissioner”, Andisiwe 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 dropouts at schools. Quitting school to join a gang is not securing a bright future for yourselves.”