Bheki Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Photograph: Flickr

Gqeberha: Bheki Cele promises greater SAPS presence, more arrests

Police Minister Bheki Cele visited Gqeberha after a road rage incident led to clashes between taxi drivers and shop owners in the area

Bheki Cele

Police Minister Bheki Cele. Photograph: Flickr

Police Minister Bheki Cele has condemned the wave of violence which broke out in Gqeberha recently, but says they will be roping in more boots on the ground to help deal with tensions, which could flare up again. Gqeberha was the scene of chaos when taxi drivers and shop owners clashed – something which stems from a reported road rage incident.

A fight broke out after a local taxi driver accidentally ran into a foreign national. This sparked anger and in retaliation, a group of shop owners, many of whom are believed to be Somalian, torched a fleet of taxis in the region, damaging 12 vehicles in the process, including 8 taxis.

A handful of Somalian nationals were then seen on the streets, with at least one of them carrying fairly heavy weaponry, as tensions threatened to boil over once again.

Cele visited the area on Thursday, 14 October, and said they would also clamp down on suspects who brandished weapons.

“We have gun laws in this country and we abide by them, the law is clear that you cannot carry and brandish a firearm in public – we are not at war- if you do so, you are breaking the law. I’m encouraged that police continue to seek the licences of these weapons and subject them to ballistic testing to see if they have been used in the commision of any crime.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele

Bheki Cele talks tough on violence

While Bheki Cele has praised the efforts by both groupings to find a peaceful solution but has warned that arson is a very serious offence that will not go unpunished and that arrests will soon be made.

“While you negotiate with each other, the police won’t negotiate crime, they have a constitutional mandate to uphold which is to safe gaurd citizens and their property, this is why police are exploring all avenues to find and bring to account those who burnt down a taxi, a vending stall or a shop,” he said.