Residents of Westbury in Johannesburg say they hope the deployment of the police’s Tactical Response Unit (TRU) will help stabilize the area and rid it of crime and drug-related violence. Police Minister Bheki Cele introduced and paraded over 140 police officers from this unit.
This was in response to residents’ complaints about the scourge of drug dealing and drug-related shootings in the area.
Last week, a Westbury mother Heather Peterson was fatally shot and her niece wounded after they were caught in a crossfire believed to be a shootout between drug dealers.
Westbury residents welcomed the police officer’s deployment. “Now I’m feeling better because he came back and did what he said he is going to do. I’m quite pleased and just pray that we follow through. It is very good; they must just get the criminals out of the way,” says one of the residents. “
Cele says the Tactical Response Team or Ama-Beret will carry live ammunition. He says some officers will operate undercover among residents to provide inside information.
“The guys you see here carry live ammunition because they are sent to the higher risk areas. They are here for gangsterism, so we can’t give them rubber bullets for gangsters. So we warn, whoever thinks they want to take them on, it will be very tough for you. We want to bring peace to this area.”