The Western Cape Department of Community Safety deployed 60 law enforcement officers to Hanover Park on Monday, October 12. They are expected to remain there for the next three years in an effort to quell gang violence.
The officers from the Law Enforcement Advancement Program (LEAP) have been deployed to assist SAPS in joint operations.
Albert Fritz, the Western Cape MEC for Community Safety, welcomed the deployment in a statement. He said that the decision to send in the garrison is the result of a meeting to discuss gang violence with the Hanover Park ward councillor, Antonio van der Rheede and the Phillipi SAPS station commander, Colonel Fredericks.
Fritz said that in the meeting Colonel Fredericks outlined his station’s safety plan to put an end to the violence and that law enforcement officers stationed in the area over the past weekend contributed significantly to the decrease in violence.
Fritz delivered a keynote address at an event held to acknowledge all parties, such as neighbourhood watches and walking buses, that are doing their utmost to ensure the safety of Hanover Park residents.
“In particular, I wish to commend SAPS and the [law enforcement officers] deployed through the Western Cape Safety Plan which have contributed significantly to towards the stabilization of Hanover Park over the past weekend,” said Fritz.
“Violence and gangsterism has no place in our society and we cannot tolerate or condone it. I have called on residents to report known criminal elements who disrupt the safety of their community.”
He added: “I am determined to ensure that the Law Enforcement effort as seen here today will be closely linked with a comprehensive Violence Prevention component.”
Fritz stressed that violence prevention was about working in unison with all community stakeholders, including parents, schools, NGOs, faith-based organisations and local government, to make sure that the scourge of violence never happens in the first place.
The youth of Hanover Park are intended to be the main beneficiary of the increase in police visibility. The aim is to provide them with access to a variety of opportunities that will show them an alternate path – away from violence, apathy and the influence of gang culture.
“In the coming months, we will work together with SAPS, LEAP, and Law Enforcement to implement this integrated violence prevention interventions on a sustained basis,” said Fritz.