Police Minister General Bheki Cele said there had been a drastic decline in the murder rate in Western Cape since Operation Lockdown started.
Operation Lockdown got underway three months ago to curb serious violent crimes plaguing the Cape Flats and other townships in the Cape Metropole. The operation saw soldiers of the SA Army supporting the SA Police Service.
This week Minister Cele and Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale received a consolidated report on operational interventions in Western Cape to date, ranging from Operation Thunder launched in May 2018, the Anti-Gang Unit launched by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November 2018 and Operation Lockdown in July 2019 and extended to March 2020.
Following the report, Cele and Mathale engaged communities for feedback on the interventions through a Ministerial Imbizo in Mitchell’s Plain and Gugulethu.
Following operational discussions and analysis, a decision to merge the major interventions under a central operational command was implemented to stamp the authority of the state in Western Cape and to ultimately address the scourge of gangsterism and other priority crimes in the province a Police Ministry statement said. Interventions tackling contact crimes have shown a positive impact. This is demonstrated in stabilisation of the murder rate now averaging in the 30s. Over five thousand people were arrested for various crimes.
There are other policing precincts where trio crimes and robbery aggravated crimes are still on the increase, especially street robberies and car hijackings.
Successes to date include 100 firearm and 565 knife seizures as well as close to 200 rounds of ammunition.
Operation Lockdown remains a temporary support to Western Cape police and provincial SAPS operational planning is preparing for withdrawal of the additional forces.
Integrated forces attached to Operation Lockdown work at executing operations in identified areas or as guided by crime threat analysis.
Role players including SAPS units, Metro police, traffic services, SANDF and in some instances neighbourhood watch members and volunteers, descend week after week on targeted precincts to create safety for all. Raids, operations, cordon and searches, vehicle checkpoints, roadblocks as well as search and seizures are a common occurrence, particularly on weekends when most criminal acts occur.