Extra police have been deployed to Nelson Mandela Bay in an attempt to quell violent protests and assist with ongoing gang wars.
This comes after violent protests last week in which one person died and many others were injured. About 50 police officials and other resources have been brought in for the next two weeks.
This comes after the Operational Command Centre (OCC) requested more manpower to assist mainly with protest action, but also gang violence.
OCC commander Brigadier Keith Meyer said the reason for the additional manpower was to proactively address protests and gang violence before it flares up.
“The additional resources include members of the Tactical Response Teams and Public Order Policing, all of who are trained to assist with protest action,” he said.
“These additional deployments are sanctioned by our provincial head office as a precautionary measure, due to the number of protests in recent weeks.”
OCC spokeswoman Colonel Priscilla Naidu said they would also assist in the calming of gang violence in the northern areas. “They will also form part of our operational planning,” she said.
“Should they be needed on specific operations run by the OCC, they will be deployed as such.” Last week’s violent protests in Helenvale, which saw Ronaldo Heneke, 23, killed, also raised security concerns.
Naidu said that gangsters took advantage of the chaos and posed as protesters, shooting live ammunition at the police. “The gangsters used the situation to their advantage to commit further crime,” she said.
“This concerns us as it could spark further gang violence in the area.” Police insiders said that gangs were also believed to be plotting revenge attacks linked to gang-related murders earlier this month.
Naidu said the Gang Intervention Unit as well as OCC were monitoring the activity of gangs. Heneke’s murder has been taken over by police watchdog, the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, to ascertain if he was
killed by police.