CAPE TOWN - The issue of gangsterism is far beyond the issue of policing in Cape Town but more of a societal issue, Police Minister Bheki Cele said on Tuesday.
Cele held a media briefing following the release of the national crime statistics for 2017/2018 in Parliament on Tuesday, which has, among other crimes showed an increase in murder and attempted murder crimes.
The statistics showed the Western Cape rated the highest in gang-related murders in the country with a total of 808 recorded killings.
He said gangsterism was one of the oldest histories in South Africa, especially in Cape Town where the culture was also supported by parents.
“I went to Kraaifontein one day, this guy is 17-years-old, they killed his brother instead of him. They came to search for him and found the brother and they shot and killed the brother. I was really sympathetic and I told the boy not to worry and the boy said ‘no I won’t worry I go and shoot his mother’.”
He said that the boy was also encouraged by his mother who also said she would order her son to go and commit the crime.
“His mother said: ‘Ja [yes] he must shoot his mother because his mother told his boy to come and shoot me, so I will tell my boy to shoot her’," Cele said.
“Now what do you do with this culture where mothers, let alone just the community, but where mothers support it. So the issue of gangsters is far beyond the issue of policing in Cape Town. Policing can do all but gangsterism is a more societal issue than it is police, even the law issue."
Cele said that “everybody agreed in South Africa that we have a problem when it comes to gangsterism”.
“There are gangsters who are gangsters because they saw it in the house, that’s the only reason that they are gangsters. There are gangsters that are gangsters because their whole peers are gangsters, and that’s the only reason,” he said, adding that one of the challenges in dealing with the crime was that the gangsters were young boys," he said.
“Now police do arrest these gangsters, what does the court say to us...bring them back home to their mothers, that’s what the law says.”