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ActionSA is deeply troubled by the continued bloodshed caused by callous and senseless shootings that have sadly become an all too frequent occurrence in Nelson Mandela. On Sunday, 17 September, another tragic incident occurred when 5 individuals lost their lives in a gang-related shooting in the Northern areas.
The recent mass shooting comes only 4 weeks after Police Minister Bheki Cele launched “Operation Shanela” in the very community where the incident occurred. Residents however continue to live in fear.
ActionSA believes that Cele’s recent visit to the violence-ridden Northern areas, marred by gang violence, was merely another opportunity to waste resources without providing tangible solutions or even at a minimum- hope for the residents. The Minister’s visit, infamously for merely making appearances where our people’s lives have been adversely affected by crime, didn't come as a surprise at the time. He offered residents empty and superficial assurances amidst an escalating crime crisis in the Nelson Mandela Bay.
The Eastern Cape leads in South Africa’s murder rate, with crime in Nelson Mandela Bay spiralling out of control daily. The irony of Minister Cele’s heavy security detail when visiting an area where tax-paying residents don't have the privilege of being guarded 24/7 is always conspicuously evident—a stark contrast indeed.
The current government does not have the interests of Eastern Cape residents, nor their freedom at heart. Government ministers consistently downplay residents' constitutionally protected rights, placing them low on their list of priorities. First quarter crime statistic for the year 2023/24 revealed that the Eastern Cape had the highest murder rate from April to June 2023, standing at 17.7 per 100,000 individuals. Moreover, the Province reported the highest incidents of rape recording 22.2 cases per 100,000 people. Additionally, Nelson Mandela Bay has sustained its status as a hotspot for truck hijackings, experiencing a 28.6% increase when compared with the same quarter last year. These numbers demonstrate that the Eastern Cape has maintained its position as the murder capital of South Africa.
Residents of Helenvale live in constant fear for themselves and their children as sporadic shootings in their streets continue daily. Neighbouring communities like New Brighton, and areas like Motherwell, have seen consistent violent hijackings, home invasions, and gruesome murders. We have witnessed very little police intervention or visibility that would assure residents of their safety.
ActionSA believes that we need to establish more cross functional teams within the police service and expand the use of Specialized Units for effecting crime fighting such an anti-gang units and tactical response teams.
Under an ActionSA government, our security forces and laws will ensure that criminals do not violate the rights of law-abiding citizens. We will not tolerate a society where criminals act with impunity, while residents live in fear. ActionSA believes in putting an end to interpersonal violence like murder, assault, and sexual offences by ensuring that we foster a culture of respect for the rule of law by implementing harsh sentences with reduced opportunities of any form of remittance.
Issued by ActionSA Eastern Cape Provincial Chairperson, Athol Trollip