Gangsterism in the Western Cape: briefing by SAPS

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07 November 2001
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

7 November 2001

Chairperson: Mr M E George

Relevant documents:
South African Police Services presentation on gangsterism in the Western Cape (See Appendix)

South African Police Services briefed the Committee on gangsterism in the Western Cape. The key objectives of South African Police Services National Crime Combatting Strategy were outlined. One of the main objectives was to address the problem of gangsterism in the Western Cape with the implementation of Operation Slasher. This operation would focus on key crime areas to stem the spillover of crime into other areas.

Members were astounded when given a background on gangsterism in the Western Cape. The extent of the problem was so far reaching that South African Police Services could not give definite time frames when the problem of gangsterism would be addressed in its finality. The Committee remained unconvinced that increases in the numbers of South African Police Services personnel would solve the problem. The social culture of South Africa had to change to eradicate crime.
South African Police Service (SAPS)
Provincial Commissioner of SAPS in the Western Cape, Advocate L Max introduced the huge delegation from SAPS. However only Deputy National Commissioner Pruis, Inspector Saulse and Director Pillay made presentations.

Overview of Special Operations
Deputy National Commissioner Pruis presented the Committee with an overview of special operations that SAPS is currently involved in. The National Crime Combatting Strategy had the following objectives:
• The focus was on 145 priority police stations as 50% of all violent crimes occur within their jurisdiction. SAPS have thus far been successful in stabilising crime and they were confident that there would be a decrease in crime statistics. The idea is to normalise policing by way of Targeted Visible Policing. In order achieve this aim, SAPS would require additional personnel.
• SAPS have also targeted organised crime syndicates in order to stem the flow of drugs into South African society and the smuggling of stolen goods out of South Africa.
• Attempts have been made to broaden the intelligence capacity of SAPS.
• Crimes against women and children has been identified as one of the priority areas for SAPS.
• SAPS realised that certain crime tendencies had to be identified in society. A special operational approach was needed to address the issue and co-operation between various departments. There needs to be a major overhaul in the culture of South African society. Basic values and standards needs to be revitalised.
• Given the recent terrorist attacks on the USA, SAPS launched Operation Protect to ensure that similar attacks do not occur in South Africa.
• More appropriately SAPS is also currently engaged in Operation Slasher to address the problem of gangsterism. Based on its success in the Western Cape it is to be used in other provinces as well.

Background to Gangsterism
Inspector Saulse continued with a brief history and overview of gangsterism. In essence two types of gangs exist. The first type are street gangs and the second type are organised gangs. The latter being the more problematic of the two. The organised gangs are the infamous numbers gangs such as “26â€?, “27â€? and “28â€?. Gangsters inevitably fall into one of the aforementioned categories of the numbers gangs. Â

The perception is that gangsterism is a so-called coloured phenomenon. It was interesting to note that blacks formed the numbers gangs in the 19th century. This explains the so-called black terminology that is often used by gangsters in their street slang.

Inspector Saulse stated that the numbers gangs function in the same manner as any organised institution. They have top structures and lower structures and they also conform to a code of conduct. The 1966 eviction of coloureds from District Six caused the wide spread dispersion of gangsterism throughout the Cape Flats. This has made the fight against gangsterism much more difficult.

It came to light that every twenty years or so communities become fed up with gangsterism and formed community organisations to eradicate gangs. In 1950 it was the Globe Gang, in 1970 the PeaceMakers and in 1996 it was People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD). Often gangsters feel threatened and form alliances amongst themselves such as CORE.

Inspector Saulse made a valid point that often in sub economic areas youths find themselves in families where both parents work. Gangs thrive on this situation and offer youths a “surrogate family� set up which gives them a sense of belonging.

Operation Slasher
Director Pillay proceeded to give the Committee a breakdown of Operation Slasher. It was launched in March 2001 and was concentrated in the following areas:
• Mitchells Plain
• Philippi / Hanover Park
• Manenberg
• Bishop Lavis
• Elsies River

The reason why these focus areas were chosen was because inter-gang violence has escalated there. One of the major reasons for the increase in violence is territorial domination by gangs to control the illicit drug and shebeen trade.

The aim of Operation Slasher is to attain stability and normality in gang infested areas by way of pro-active policing. Director Pillay noted that it was only possible if SAPS attained co-operation and support from local communities. Â
For a look at the manner in which Operation Slasher has been implemented and the effect it had on the above mentioned focus areas please refer to the attached document.

The Chair asked the following questions:
(i) In the past SAPS said that it does not need additional personnel. In other words existing personnel to be properly trained. Is this correct?
(ii) Is South African legislation adequate to deal with the problem of gangsterism?
(iii) What impact has the Firearms Control Act had on the efforts of SAPS?
(iv) It seems that many crimes are planned from within prisons. What is being done about it?
(v) Trainers in SAPS had previously informed the Committee that they are only able to train 2500 members per annum. Is this figure sufficient?

(i) The intention was for SAPS to introduce sector policing in order for station commanders to take responsibility for crime in their areas. At present SAPS had 123 000 members at its disposal but it is hoped that a further 38 000 members would be recruited by the end of the year. The ideal number to implement sector policing would therefore be 161 000.

(ii) Deputy National Commissioner Pruis said that there are certain pieces of legislation that could be problematic. He pointed out that policy decisions also sometimes hamper the efforts of SAPSÂ such as sentencing provisions.
(iii) It was noted that SAPS is very positive about enforcing the provisions of the Firearms Control Act. Large volumes of illegal arms have been confiscated.

(v) Deputy National Commissioner Pruis observed that training 2500 members per annum would be insufficient. The figure should at least be at training ± 5000 members per annum.

Mr V Ndlovu (IFP) asked what is SAPS' timeframe to reach the 161 000 figure.

The focus areas will definitely be where most crimes are being committed. Deputy National Commissioner Pruis emphasised that the idea is to normalise policing which would most probably take about 8 years.

Mr R Zondo (ANC) stated that the public perception is that criminals often are given more protection than victims are. Is this true?

The question remained unanswered.

Mr M Booi (ANC) asked how is the taking on of the additional 38 000 members going to be financed. What is the cost going to be?

Deputy National Commissioner Pruis pointed out that for every 10 000 members taken on it costs R1billion. For 38 000 members it would ± R 4 billion.

Adv P Swart (DP) asked if the additional 38 000 members are going to be kept on once crime levels have been normalised.

Deputy National Commissioner Pruis confirmed that SAPS would be keeping on the additional 38 000 members permanently.

Mr V Ndlovu said that it seems that bottlenecks occur after persons are arrested. Is there co-operation with the Departments of Justice and Correctional Services.

Commissioner Veary stated that there is co-operation with the aforementioned departments. Especially with situations around prisoners changing such as if a prisoner has moved up in the ranks in a gang.

Rev K Meshoe (ACDP) asked why if there are 29 known gang leaders were there only sixteen arrested. Why have the remaining thirteen not been arrested?

Commissioner Veary pointed out that it is difficult to prove gang leader involvement in crimes that are committed. Often the order to commit a crime is filtered through the ranks of a gang. The gangster who had been ordered to commit the crime does not himself know from whom the order has come.

Mr E Ferreira (IFP) asked how many persons are involved in gang activity? What are their average ages?

Commissioner Veary stated that there are 150 gangs in the Western Cape with about 120 000 members. At lower levels the ages vary from eleven year olds to sixteen year olds. At higher levels the leaders are about 50 years of age.

Mr D Bloem (ANC) asked if SAPS infiltrate gangs in prisons. Have there been any successes and is it difficult?

Commissioner Veary pointed out that SAPS had excellent informant networks in prisons. The “old guardâ€? in gangs often did not agree with the way the younger members do things and often gave up these younger gangsters. Even gang members had disagreements amongst themselves, so loyalty amongst gangsters is vastly eroding. Â

The Chair asked at what stage is it foreseen that gangsterism in the Western Cape would be brought under control.

Deputy National Commissioner Pruis noted that area operations are the key to success. He pointed out that operational concepts that have already been implemented in the Western Cape have already borne fruit. Greater inter-departmental and community co-operation is needed. There had to be an integrated effort.

The meeting was adjourned.




The gang phenomenon in the Western Cape is an age-old problem which requires the understanding and strategic planning, to successfully address the threat of gangs, gang violence and crimes committed by the gangs.

The crimes committed by gangs especially violent crimes such as murder, attempted murder and rape significantly contributes to the high incidence of violent crimes in the Western Cape.

At the beginning of this year the Provincial Commissioner of the Western Cape and his management identified the threat of gangs, gang violence and crimes committed by these gangs as a provincial priority.

The station areas which contributed to the most number of incidents of violence and violent crimes were identified as priorities and a focus driven integrated operation launched in the identified areas to address the phenomenon of gangsterism. The operation known as OPERATION SLASHER was launched during March 2001 and is concentrated in the following areas.


The station areas which were excluded from OPERATION SLASHER and which are known for incidents of gang activities and gang violence is being addressed by the relevant area commissioners and at times assistance is given by operation slasher in terms of personnel and resources on intelligence I focus driven operations in the relevant areas.

During the recent period inter-gang violence has escalated in the flash point areas of the Western Cape.
In quantifying the most recent trends which can be identified as catalysts for inter gang violence the following can be mentioned as factors.

· Territorial domination by gang groupings, such as the "28" and "26" and more specifically prominent leaders regarding manipulation of the illegal drug and shebeen trade.

· Territorial domination and retaliation attacks have been the cause for the majority of inter- gang conflict in the recent past. These forms of attacks occur in the form of execution style murders, house attacks, drive-by shooting and intimidation. It has been identified, that one isolated incidents, would in the majority of times, lead to retaliation. Evident of this is the conflict in Bishop Lavis, Mitchells Plain, Heideveld and Manenberg.

· Youths being utilised in the furthering of gangsterism and inter gang violence has become more evident especially in areas such as Mitchells Plain, Manenberg and Bishop Lavis. Smaller gang groupings, comprising of youths, are being taken-up by larger gangs and used in the execution of murders, general criminal acts and intimidation. This is evident from the amount of youths arrested for murders and possession of unlicenced weapons.

A total number of eight (8) major gangs have been identified in the Mitchells Plain precinct.
Fancy Boys
Wonder Boys
Dixie Boys
Junior Cisco Yakkies
Laughing Boys
Hard Living Kids

On going inter gang conflict between gangs and subsequent developments between opposing gang members in the domination of illegal drug and liquor trade. Extortion tactics are used against shebeen owners and taxi drivers.

Unconfirmed information indicates that there is currently conflict within the Mongrels and Dixie Boys in Mitchells Plain. This can be attributed to the following:

· Members of the Mongrels gang in Eastridge are blaming the members of the
Mongrel gang in Beacon Valley for the murder of Christopher Petersen @
Krebo. The members of Beacon Valley were not allowed to attend the funeral @

· According to unconfirmed information the Young Dixie Boys(YDB) in Eastridge are also fighting amongst themselves

Tafelsig                                 : Matroosberg Crescent Keeromsberg way and c/o
Elandskloof and Tsitsikamma, Gail, Rita, Alison and Moira
Beacon Valley                      : Korfbal, Kneket. Bicycle and Rolbal Streets
Eastridge                              : Gazelle Street and Blesbok Street

A total number of seven (7) major gangs have been identified in Hanover Park.
Backstreet Boys
Derwent Kids
Laughing Boys

According to information a number of shooting incidents allegedly occurred in the Hanover Park area. The conflict is mostly between the Americans and the Laughing Boys gangs. The conflict between these gangs erupted after the killing of the leader of the "Laughing Boys", (Donovan Isaacs) The Laughing Boys blames the American gang for his murder.

1. The area within Athwood Road, Stonelands Road, Surran Road, Hanover Park Avenue, Lonedown Road and Summit Road.
2. The area within Lonedown Road, Hanover Park Road and Downberg Road

A total number of seventeen (17) gangs have been identified in the Bishop Lavis precinct of which 6 gangs are aligned to the FirmI28's (approx. 250 members), and the remainder of the gangs aligning themselves with the 26's.
Hard Living Kids
Ma se Kinders
28's (Firm)
Clever Kids
Young Americans
School Boys
Terrible Josters
Benzie Boys
Junky Funky Kids
Junior Cisco Yakkies
Young Dixie Boys
Rooi Duiwels
Ugly Americans
Dirty Night Pigs

Tit-for-tat attacks perpetrated by the local Americans gang on the Junky Funky Kids (JFK's) I Junior Cisco Yakkies (JCY's) Alliance in Bonteheuwel and vice versa. Numerous prominent gang members from both opposing groups were assassinated and wounded in these shootings (drive-by's) in the turfs of the opposing gangs. These prominent members include Ashley Davids (JCY's), Riedewaan Fagodien @Wanie (JCY's) and the brothers Ricardo and Mornay Ganger (Americans).

The priority area includes and surrounds Bitterblaar Street and Bonteheuwel avenue.

A total number of two (2) major gangs have been identified in the Elsies River precinct, namely Americans (26) and 28's

Blazer Boys
American Spice Boys

On going inter gang conflict between gangs and subsequent developments between opposing gang members in the domination of illegal drug and liquor trade. Elsies River is relatively calm. The period of calm could possibly be attributed to the arrest of some of the most prominent gang members in this area.

Leonsdale (Bouter Close and 11th Avenue), Clarke Estate (Norwood Street), Avonwood
(Shela Street), The Range (Range Road), Salberau (Mercury Close and Southern
Cross Drive) and Epping Forest (Debden Street and Snaresbrooke Road).

A total number of seven (7) major gangs have been identified in Manenberg.
Hard Uving Kids
Jester Kids
Dixie Boys
Clever Kids
Junky Funky Kids
Cat Pounds

For the past week there has been an increased in inter-gang violence in the vicinity of
Manenberg and Heideveld. The conflict is most between the Americans and Hard
Living Kids gangs. As a result of the conflict three young innocent children were
wounded over the past two weeks.

During the week several shots were fired at the residence of Charles De Bruin @ Charlie Hangkas, leader of the Americans. No one was injured during the incident. With the current gang war between the Americans and the Hard Living gangs in Manenberg, and De Bruin will blame the Hard Livings gang for the attack. The possibility exists that he will launch revenge attacks on the HL. The indication is that the revenge attacks from both these gangs will continue and that this might lead to an increase in the gang violence in the area over the coming weekend.

Renoster Walk, Manenberg;
Pecos Way, Manenberg;
Scheldt Walk, Manenberg;
Beatrix Walk, Manenberg;
Waterberg Street, Heideveld

· To stabilise the present high levels of gang violence in the identified areas so as to enable normal policing to take place
· Understand the nature of gang violence
· To win the trust and confidence of the local community in assisting in combatting of gang violence
· Obtain the assistance of crime intelligence
· To assist in the arrest, prosecution and conviction of perpetrators (especially prominent gang leaders)
· To monitor and assess trends regarding gang violence in order to address such incidents pro-actively
· To identify individuals responsible for gang violence as well as the identification of premises utilised as drug and liquor outlets and premises used as strongholds for gang groupings
· To actively combat gang structures that ultimately contribute to the violence (including gang leaders and high flyers)


Visitation programme - Liaison with Station Commissioner, CIAC personnel, members of community organisations.

· Compilation of Station intelligence profiles
· Compilation of crime pattern analysis
· Compilation of crime threat analysis
· Placing of strong points in flash point areas

Identification of prominent gang leaders and their support bases.
Categorised as follows
A list    -          leading figures              29
B list    -          support base    -          42
C list    -          arrested (on bail)           -          4
U list    -          arrested (in custody)     -          12

· Identification of drug and liquor outlets
· Involvement of organised Crime Units
· Involvement of dedicated Detectives
· Involvement of Assets Forfeiture Unit
· Involvement of Social Crime Prevention initiatives
· Urban renewal strategy


· A group of detectives were placed at the Slasher Investigation Task Group. The investigators are assisted by the Visible Gang Unit.
· From 15 June 2001 they have taken more than 1211 case dockets.

· 198 Arrests were made in 134 cases. Some of those arrested includes
prominent gang leaders and hi flyers who were arrested for violent crimes
such as murder1 attempted murder and rape. There were a number of
convictions in some of the cases.

·1 person                     Attempted Murder         -(6 years imprisonment)
·1 person         -          Murder            -(18 years imprisonment)
·1 person         -          Murder / Rape   -(Life imprisonment)
·5 persons                                Armed Robbery / Rape
                                             - ( 4 received 25 years each)
                                             - (1 received 20 year sentenced)
·1 person                   Murder            - (15 years sentence

· A number of premises were searched in terms of Sec 11 of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 1992.
· 39 premises were negative
· 6 premises were positive and a member of arrests made including the seizure of a .303 rifle.
· A number of Section 252A operations were also conducted with a number of arrests and seizures. In some of the Section 252A operations were also conducted with a number of arrests and seizures. In some of the Section 252A operations no arrests were made as it was part of under cover operations and investigations are continuing.
· A member of gang leaders and high flyers have also been prioritised on the Provincial Organised Crime Threat Analysis and their activities are being investigated by the Organised Crime Unit.
· The Organised Crime Unit was also tasked to identify one address in each of the Slasher Station Areas for the possible asset forfeiture in terms of the assets forfeiture act.
· At present investigation document in respect of one address has been finalised and the necessary documents forwarded to the Assets Forfeiture Unit for their assistance.

· Schools Programme
· A number of schools were visited a presentation made with regards to:
· Drug Awareness
· Together against Gangsters
· Prevention of Fire-Arm Violence
· Prevention of Child Abuse and Child Safety

· Church Programme
· A number of churches were visited with regards to:
·alcohol and drug abuse
· awareness gang prevention.

· Victim Empowerment
· A number of persons were trained in victim empowerment

· Neighbourhood Watch programmes
· Training and assistance was given to a member of neighbourhood watch programmes.

· Pamphlet Distribution
· A number of pamphlets were also distributed with regards to Child Abuse and Child Safety.
· Safety hints for vehicle and home.

· The urban renewal strategy is a partnership between the Department of
Community Safety, The South African Police Service and Community
· A co-ordination was appointed by The Department of Community Safety for each of the Slasher Station Areas.
· At present attempts are made to paint of graffiti in the different areas and clean up operations in effected areas.

Detached duty members, members of the SANDF and Crime Prevention personnel from the Slasher Police Stations plan daily on intelligence/focus driven operations concentrating in flash point areas. The following successes were achieved for the period Ol March 2001 to 31 October 2001
(NB These successes exclude the arrests made by the Organised Crime Units and the Slasher Investigation Task Team)

· MURDER                                                                    63
· ATT. MURDER                                                            71
· ARMED ROBBERY                                                     62     Â
· ROBBERY                                                                   42
· HOUSEBREAKING                                                      57
· THEFT                                                                         105
· THEFT OUT OF M/VEHICLE                                      45
· RAPE                                                                           43
· ASSAULT COMMON                                                   5
· ASSAULT GBH                                                            138
· POSS. OF UNLICENCED FIREARM                           170
· POSS. OF DRUGS5                                                     73
· THEFT OF M/VEHICLE                                                14
· POSS. OF STOLEN PROPERTY                                 22
· TOTAL                                                                          1410

· FIREARMS                                                                 97
· VEHICLES                                                                  50
· AMMUNITION                                                            1265 ROUNDS
· DAGGA                                                                      116.100KG
· CRACK                                                                       371 CRYSTALS
· COCAINE                                                                   1.04KG
· EXTACY                                                                      570 TABLETS
· MANDRAX                                                                  17054 TABLETS

·The attaining of stability and normality within the slasher station areas and other gang infested areas within the Western Cape and sustaining such stability and normalitv through proactive policing and closer co-operation and partnerships with the communities.

·Attaining the co-operation and support of the local communities in ridding the gang phenomenon from the Western Cape in totality.

·Creating a safe and secure environment for all the citizens of tbe \\~estern Cape in that they can live without fear and intimidation



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