Premier instructs Western Cape Police Ombud to investigate alleged link between South African Police Service and gangs.

27 Oct 2022 in Where We Govern

On Thursday, 27 October, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde requested the Provincial Police Ombud Oswald Reddy to launch an investigation to answer one key question:

Is there sufficient evidence and concern to warrant establishing a Commission of Inquiry to probe serous allegations of links between gangs and members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the province – among them senior officials?

A Western Cape High Court judgment, delivered on 17 October 2022, stated that there is evidence that gang members have infiltrated the top management structures of the SAPS in the Western Cape, and are accessing key documents and strategies on crime fighting. With few arrests or prosecutions of gangsters taking place, it could be the case that this is actively aiding them to avoid the law. Premier Alan Winde said: “This judgment has highlighted alleged horrific and deep-rooted corruption and collusion between the SAPS and members of the so-called 28’s gang.”

In his ruling, Judge Daniel Thulare stated: “The evidence suggests not only a capture of some lower ranking officers in the SAPS. The evidence suggests that the senior management of the SAPS in the province has been penetrated to the extent that the 28 gang has access to the table where the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS in the Western Cape sits with his senior managers and lead them in the study of crime, develop crime prevention strategies and decide on tactics and approach to the safety and security of inhabitants of the Western cape. This includes penetration of and access to the sanctity of the reports by specialized units like the Anti-Gang Unit and Crime Intelligence, to the Provincial Commissioner.” The judgment further states that the gang had protection and assistance from corrupt members of the police.

Upon receipt of the outcome of the Ombud’s investigation, and based upon its contents, the Premier will then consider further steps in this respect. “This matter cannot be ignored any longer by Police Minister Bheki Cele and the national government. In the absence of decisive action from them over a considerable amount of time, we as the Western Cape Government (WCG) are committed to addressing this critical issue,” Premier Winde stressed. He added: “We hope to finally address and stem the rot that is alleged to have set in within the SAPS under Minister Cele’s watch. There is also no doubt in my mind that President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to fire Minister Cele. How much longer can the President allow him to keep this critical cabinet position, in light of these serious allegations against SAPS?”.

Provincial Minister of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen said: “I am horrified by the judge’s words, and I commend him for denying bail to the accused involved in this case. Various current and previous cases have highlighted the alleged corrupt relationship between certain SAPS members and gangsters. Earlier today, I concluded a meeting with the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), and they have undertaken to study the judgment and initiate investigations where they are required. I am, however, deeply concerned that the results of IPID investigations would ultimately land at Minister Cele’s door, and we know he hasn’t taken any further steps on this in the past. In the interests of Western Cape residents, who suffer gang violence on a daily basis, we therefore need to take our own steps.”

Barely a day goes by where there is not a gang-related shooting in Cape Town. In a recent atrocity, in Lavender Hill, an 11-year-old boy was shot dead in a suspected gang attack.

“It is tragedies like this that horrify me and our citizens. For how much longer must our communities continue to live in fear of gangs? This court judgement puts a huge question mark on the role of SAPS in possibly aiding these atrocities, when they are in fact the mandated body to be tackling them. We will not stand by as gangsterism runs rampant and communities are traumatised. We are taking action,” the Premier said.

Minister Allen concluded: “The SAPS officers allegedly implicated do not deserve their blue uniform, as their alleged primary aim is not to serve and protect our residents, but allegedly to serve and protect the gangs. If this is the case, it is at the expense of our communities.”