There have been over 50 reported murders just over the Easter weekend alone in the Western Cape. The latest statistics were revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele during a parade of newly-deployed officers in the province.

Nearly 200 police officials have been deployed to crime hotspots in the Western Cape amid an increase in crime, especially related to gang violence.

The areas for deployment include Delft, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, and Nyanga on the Cape Flats.

Cele says the additional deployment comes amid what he calls a “stubborn wave of crime” in Cape Town.

He says progress has been made with regards to addressing the issue of extortion in various parts of the city.

“It has been raised that the question of extortion here in the city, which has stopped to be an elite kind of crime but there are people who move around … ask those households how many people are renting the backyard, and ask how much do they pay. If they are paying R300 they want a percent. Those extortionists want 10% of that rent.”

There has been a spate of murders in Cape Town in recent weeks. In Kraaifontein, two police officers were shot and killed, their firearms were stolen.

In Mitchells Plain, two teenagers were among those shot dead. Hanover Park and Mfuleni, wherein one weekend as many as 10 people were murdered, are also among the hotspots.

“In the Mfuleni issue, we have some leads. We have people that we have arrested. They are under guard in hospital. Hopefully, they can tell us because, in that one, it would appear that the first incident resulted in the second incident in revenge, and in most of the gang-related issues you find that retaliation, revenge is a problem like in Mfuleni,” says Acting Provincial Police Commissioner in the Western Cape, Major-General Thembisile Phathekile.

Cele says the additional members will act as force multipliers within the existing crime-fighting operations in the province.

More information is due to be released this week.