Operation Thunder’ yields 11 000 arrests in four months
Cape Town – The South African Police Service (SAPS) has revealed that 11 154 arrests have been made in the Western Cape since the launch of ‘Operation Thunder’ in May this year.
‘Operation Thunder’ is a robust crime-fighting operation which polices the areas of Elsies River, Bishop Lavis, Ravensmead, Philippi, Manenberg, Mitchells Plain, Steenberg, Worcester and Philippi East, which are all known crime hotspots.
The announcement was made during the Standing Committee on Community Safety on Wednesday.
DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Community Safety, Mark Wiley said while he welcomed the operation’s deployment of 257 additional personnel imported specifically for this operation, “one cannot ignore the fact that these communities are severely under policed, as confirmed by the Public Service Commission (PSC) report”.
“A concern highlighted at today’s committee is the ability of the criminal justice system to deal with the arrests that have been made. The criminal justice system is already failing to deal with severe backlogs in cases that have been brought forth by the SAPS,” Wiley said.
According to statistics, between 2011/12 and 2015/16 there were 1886 reported gang-related murders in the Western Cape. “In that same timeframe, the criminal justice system only managed to convict 61 cases successfully – a 3% conviction rate,” Wiley said.
“Communities are traumatised by random bullets and murder in their streets because of gangs that hold their streets and neighbourhoods ransom.”
Wiley said that in order for every citizen to live in a society free of crime, police management at national government first needed to address the severe under-resourcing of police – before crime worsens.