Poorer Cape communities 'easy target for gangs'

Are government and the Western Cape leadership working together to curb gang related violence in the province?

CAPE TOWN - As gang violence continues to plague various communities in the Western Cape, the DA says Police Minister Bheki Cele must shoulder the blame.

The party has lodged an inter-governmental dispute with the ANC-led government.

It's calling for an independent police authority in the Western Cape.  

Six women were gunned down in the area on Friday night and on Saturday night five men were shot dead in separate incidents.

WATCH: Police minister in Philippi in wake of weekend murders

Two other murder cases were also opened in the area on Saturday evening, bringing the death toll to 13 for the weekend.

Cele said a crime-fighting plan for the City of Cape Town must extend beyond the crime-ridden area.

The crimes have been linked to gangsterism, a consistent and complex problem in the province.

The DA's Shadow Minister of Police Andrew Whitfield said the reality is that poorer communities are easy targets for gangs and gang violence.

Whitfield quoted statistics, saying the murder rate in Philippi East has increased by 180 percent in five years from 2013/14 to 2017/18.

He said more police officers have to be deployed.

READ: Gang-related crimes growing across South Africa

Different solutions to the problem of reducing gangsterism in the Western Cape have been offered including increasing visible policing, deploying the military, greater resource allocation and community intervention.

Whitfield responded to criticisms of the DA-led provicial government's handling of community safety by saying, "the reality is that all communities are part of an integrated development plan process and budgeting process."

"Councillors must take responsibility for ensuring that certain key issues such as lighting and services are included in those plans.

READ: Philippi faces lockdown

He emphasised, "the bottom line is, the focus here must be placed on the police minister."

"I say that because gang warfare is a complex issue, it's simply not a local government competency to prevent gang warfare of this magnitude."

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said last month, that all sectors must join forces to crush gang violence.