An interim plan to expedite gang-related court cases in Port Elizabeth was launched today, following a meeting last week between senior police, and criminal justice system representatives and Northern Areas councillors.
According to Ward 13 councillor, Nico du Plessis, it was agreed that courts would speed up the processing of current and new cases involving gangsters and drugs.
He said that police made speedy arrests of gangsters but cases took up to two years to reach court and young gangsters with up to 10 pending cases against them were out on the streets on bail. This was a key factor behind the ongoing shootings and violent crime in the area. The meeting on August 3 heard there had been 141 shooting incidents in the Helenvale and Schauderville areas in a two months period. He said police and the Northern Areas community, who were represented at the meeting by himself and Ward 11 councillor Isaac Adams, had pressed for a special gangster court. The interim plan that was agreed to at last week’s meeting would be reviewed in a month’s time.
Du Plessis said there was a need to review bail application procedures to prevent perpetrators from getting away with delaying tactics and securing easy bail. He said the community wanted to be consulted before druglords and gangsters were released on parole. “History proved that if these gangsters are released in the morning the shootings flare up the same day because of revenge attacks and the reclaiming of drug turfs,” he said.
“The community is threatening with mob justice that we must constantly defuse. Soon we will not be able to control them anymore. As councillors we are in the forefront and often are blamed for not making the area safe, even though it is not in our domain.”