Gangsterism in South African townships is a common occurrence. This has been attributed to poverty and unemployment, especially for the marginalised township youth, making them vulnerable to the practice.
“The main aim of the strategy is to ensure that this matter is not only a police enforcement issue alone, but all of us as communities must be part and parcel of the process of dealing with the issues of gangsters in all areas of South Africa,” Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe said on Thursday, following Cabinet’s regular meeting.
This is aligned to the National Development Plan to ensure that people living in South Africa feel safe at home, school and work, and enjoy community life free of fear.
“This also recognises that crime and violence are not just a security issue but have deep social and economic roots and consequences,” Minister Radebe said.
Cabinet has also approved the Minister of Police’s intention to declare an amnesty in terms of the Firearms Control Act, 2000 (Act No 60 of 2000).
The Police Minister Nathi Nhleko is set to declare amnesty, for a period of six months from 1 April 2017 and end on 30 September 2017.
This will allow gun owners to hand in illegal and unwanted weapons.
The amnesty will focus on persons in possession of illegal firearms and/or ammunition in circulation, including those involved in one or more criminal activities; and on persons who inherited firearms and/or ammunition and failed to comply with the provisions of the Firearms Controls Act.
“The amnesty will reduce the circulation of illegally possessed firearms which, will in turn result in the reduction of contact crimes,” Minister Radebe said.
The Police Minister will in future address the nation on both the National Anti-gangsterism Strategy and the gun amnesty.
Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved that the South African Police Service (SAPS) release the national crime statistics report for the trimester of 2016/17, which will cover the provincial and national incidence of crime.
The quarterly releases will enable government to monitor key targets, in particular the reduction of reported serious crimes, as set out in the Medium Term Strategic Framework. This can also be utilised as an early warning to strengthen crime prevention operations and strategies of government.