Justice denied to victims with only 5 percent conviction rate of those arrested for gang-related crimes
14 September 2021
Innocent Gauteng residents continue to live in fear of their lives while their businesses are constantly targeted by gang groups, yet the police are failing to thoroughly investigate these crimes, resulting in a 5% conviction rate of those arrested for gang-related crimes. Many cases are thus taken off the court roll due to a lack of sufficient evidence to assist in prosecution.
This information was revealed by the Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Faith Mazibuko in a written reply to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature (GPL).
According to Mazibuko, 650 persons were arrested from July 2019 to date for gang-related crimes.
Of these arrests, only 30 convictions were made in terms of Section 9 of the Prevention of Organized Crime Act. Gangs members who were convicted were involved in crimes such as; dealing and possession of drugs, illegal mining, attempted murder, possession of firearms and ammunition, house robberies, business robberies, hijacking and theft of motor vehicles, theft out of motor vehicles, malicious damage to property and intimidation.
MEC Mazibuko states that only one gang known as the Discipline Gang in the New Clair/Newlands area is no longer operational due to the work of the provincial Anti-Gang Unit. This gang was involved in drug manufacturing, distribution of drugs, drive-by shootings, and intimidation of rival gangs in the area.
She states that it is difficult to determine the existence of gangs as they move from one territory to another or go underground when one of their members get arrested or sentenced.
The fact that only fewer convictions have been made compared to the number of arrests means that these gangs are continuing to terrorise residents and demonstrates that the provincial anti-gang unit is ineffective and failing, and there is an urgent need for effective intervention.
The DA will continue to put pressure on both MEC Mazibuko and the Gauteng SAPS Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General, Elias Mawela to review the current strategy used to investigate gang-related crimes to ensure that they result in prosecution.
It is the responsibility of the South African Police Service to ensure the safety of residents and to prevent gang-related crimes. More convictions need to be made but this can only be done through effective police intelligence and investigations. The DA’s continued pressure on authorities will ensure that in-depth investigations are made, and the safety of our people is prioritised.
Issued by Michael Shackleton, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Community Safety, 14 September 2021