Unit welcomed

Janine Myburgh, president, Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry

The recent murder of city advocate Pete Mihalik in a gangland-style “hit” brings home the urgency of dealing with the criminal gangs who are giving Cape Town a dangerous reputation.

It came just a few days before the new anti-gang unit, led by top-cop Major-General Jeremy Vearey, went live on Thursday, November 1.

We have a situation where the gangs are out of control and desperate measures are needed.

Any fatal shooting is bad, but murder in front of a school, women and children shows a complete disregard for society and civilised values. We are dealing with the worst kind of thugs who have taken the law into their own hands and believe they can get away with it.

The fact that the victim was a member of the legal profession and that his young son was also shot shows contempt for everything we believe in.

Major-General Vearey faces a huge challenge, but I would like to assure him that the Chamber and all the law-abiding people of Cape Town are behind him and wish him every success.

Some of the gangs have been in existence for 50 years, and, clearly, new thinking and new methods are needed. From what I’ve read about him and his career, he does appear to be the right man for the job.

The crime statistics for the Cape are shocking, but they don’t tell the whole story. The whole gang scene is so big that it forms an illicit economy, and one of his plans is to deprive it of revenue from businesses like the illegal sale of untaxed cigarettes.

Gangs not only bring violence into the city and the townships, but they are a corrupting influence. They control territories, and their drug trade destroys lives, and they go out of their way to get people addicted and turn them into desperate customers.

Once the gangs have been dealt with, people will feel safer, and the city will be a more welcoming place.