No hope of curbing GBV with captured Western Cape Police – Action Society calls for devolution and removal of corrupt police members

“We cannot curb gender-based violence if the police have been captured by organised crime, especially when it is in the highest ranks,” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society. “A compromised police service does not put the safety of citizens first. Instead, they value money and status over everything.”

Judge Daniel Thulare of the Western Cape High Court – also a former Chief Magistrate of Cape Town – denied two members of the Mobster gang’s appeal for bail and said the police in the Western Cape had been captured by organised crime. One of the accused is a former police officer. In his finding, Judge Thulare said not only did officers in lower ranks have ties to organised crime, but it reached up to senior managers, even having influence close to the provincial head of police, Lt Gen Sindile Mfazi. Furthermore, according to Judge Thulare, the evidence showed members of the 28 and Mobster gangs were privy to confidential reports of the anti-gang and crime intelligence units.

He was concerned that gangsters now also set their sights on controlling courts.

This year, gangs were responsible for 176 murders, 255 cases of attempted murder and 23 assault charges between April and June. Furthermore, the Global Initiative against Transnational Organized Crime found that “the use of lethal violence in South Africa’s illicit markets has become more widespread and systematic, in part due to the flood of illegal guns entering the underworld, to the point where it has become a common tool of criminal business and murder increasingly normalised (a trend reflected by soaring rates of gang violence)” in its Strategic Organized Crime Risk Assessment South Africa released in September 2022.

“If the police cannot stand firm against the intimidation of gangsters, what chance do normal people, especially vulnerable groups like women and children, have?” Cameron wanted to know. “And if the police are part of the problem, no amount of imbizos will curb organised crime.”

The judge’s comments reconfirm Action Society’s call for devolution of the power of the police to provinces, doing skills audits and removing police officers who fail polygraph tests to determine involvement with criminal activities.

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