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Crime spiked during Cape Town taxi strike, says Cele

Police minister Bheki Cele. File photo.
Police minister Bheki Cele. File photo.
Image: Freddy Mavunda

There was a spike in crime in the Cape Town during the recent violent taxi strike, says police minister Bheki Cele.

The protest by the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) lasted about eight days and ended after the city and the taxi industry reached an agreement.

Five people were killed, including law-enforcement advancement plan (LEAP) officer Zamikhaya Kwinana and British doctor Kar Hao Teoh. Both were shot dead in Nyanga.

“The surge of crime in the Western Cape, especially on the Cape Flats, was terrible. It was a hell of an upswing because all resources and concentration moved away from the normal crime prevention operations and criminals found [an opportunity to commit offences],” said Cele. 

The minister said he would release detailed crime statistics on Friday.

He disputed speculation that there was a culture of brutality in the SA Police Service. This after the assault of three motorists by members of the police’s VIP protection unit in Johannesburg and Cape Town metro police manhandling a taxi driver, an incident that was caught on video.

“Police members go wayward, like all the other organisations, be it at school or in church. There will be members in any given organisation that will behave otherwise. Even in church, there are several trials going on,” said Cele.

Many police members were doing “an absolutely good job [and] there's no doubt about it”, he added. 

“I do not understand why, when police respond to such situations, it is regarded as police brutality. South African police are one of those services practising their work under brutal situations where many criminals plan and eliminate police officers.

“South African police members are recruited from the same community and society. They do not differ much [from other South Africans when it comes to behaviour]. The apple does not fall far from the tree.”

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