Minister Cele says more than a 100 people were arrested during raids in the area and Cele also revealed that they have seized a number of illegal firearms and drugs were seized.
At least 120 people have been arrested during various raids led by Police Minister Bheki Cele in Osizweni township in Newcastle on the northern KwaZulu-Natal.
Some of the people were arrested on Thursday while the majority of them were arrested during Saturday night’s raids.
Cele together with officers from various units outside Newcastle conducted Saturday night’s raid in an effort to root out crime in this area.
Residents of the township are being terrorised and there are violent crimes associated with gangsterism involving youth calling themselves Last Warnings and Juveniles.
Gang members are said to have been terrifying communities in this area for months with some officers turning a blind eye.
Six people have been killed since July as a result of conflict between the gangs. Cele says this cannot be allowed to continue.
“They instructed us that we needed to clean this place we agreed with Provincial Commissioner that they will be operations here, we have been here since Thursday. We have run good operations where we got some number of our people on the ground. But as you see now, we got three roadblocks in different places simultaneously. Since we started 120 have already been arrested in the last two days. One major problem that we have to pursue here is the drug issue. We are finding a lot of drugs maybe this kind of gangsterism and this violence we see here comes from drugs.”
Police working with criminals
Cele has vowed to root out police officers believed to be working with criminals at Osizweni police station. During his first visit to the area two weeks ago, community members accused officers at the local station of using state vehicles to transport dagga.
Cele says investigations are under way. “Even when we were here we had moved up our levels. We have added now. People have been saying they are quite happy with what they see. There are two ways of permanent solution – to deal with the communities themselves so that they become part of the solution. These are young kids when you talk about these people so the parents and the community must contribute. But Provincial Commissioner is here. They complained about our own members sometimes that they work with criminals. There is an investigation we will not hesitate to take those people to the disciplinary processes remove them if we need to remove them or put them in prison if we find that they have committed a crime