Pubdate: Mon, 08 Oct 2007
Source: Cape Times (South Africa)
Copyright: 2007 Cape Times
Author: Aziz Hartley


Mitchells Plain anti-crime group Padlac has suspended its street 
marches indefinitely, claiming 36 smoke grenades stolen from Denel 
were to be used by "agents provocateurs" bent on distributing weapons 
to escalate violence and discredit the group.

But Denel says the smoke grenades are not lethal.

"Our marches are put on hold. We've taken this step because we 
suspect the Denel break-in could be part of a move to implicate us. 
What is happening now is a very similar to what happened to Pagad in 
the 1990s," said Fasieg Adams, leader of People Against Drugs, Liquor 
and Crime.

And Cape Town Mayor and DA leader Helen Zille said on Sunday: "I 
don't think we are getting all the information on this [theft].

"Just over a decade ago there was a similar theft at Denel. It was 
the beginning of the takeover of Pagad. Are we witnessing the same 
thing here? Even more important, who lies behind this and what is 
their motive?"

In September, Zille claimed that intelligence sources had informed 
her of plans to infiltrate Padlac, and that after Ramadaan ended this 
week, weapons would be distributed to escalate violence. The claim 
led to Premier Ebrahim Rasool setting up a probe into the matter.

Zille said on Sunday: "I have more information about moves to 
discredit Padlac and smear me, but that's all I'm prepared to say."

Rasool's spokesperson, Shado Twala, said he would make "no other 
comment" on matters related to Padlac until the outcome of a probe 
into whether Zille had used public money from the city to support her 
activities with Padlac.

"We don't want this issue played out in the media," said Twala, 
referring to Rasool's earlier statement that it was "time to bring to 
a close the unseemly exchanges through the media around Zille's 
involvement with Padlac".

Makhaya Mani, spokesperson for MEC for Community Safety Leonard 
Ramatlakane, said his office "would not comment on this". "We will 
leave this to the police to investigate," said Mani.

Adams said on Sunday: "In the 1990s, an explosion in Atlantis came 
shortly after a burglary at Denel. Fingers were pointed at Pagad... 
Our concern is that should we continue marches, then agents 
provocateurs which the mayor had warned us about could use them 
[smoke grenades] to discredit us...

"Our members will confine themselves to bonfires [vigils outside drug 
dens] and we'll adopt a wait-and-see attitude," Adams said.

He vowed Padlac would not be distracted from its objective to root 
out gangs and drug dealers and said the organisation had taken 
further steps to protect itself from being blamed for vigilante attacks.

Denel munitions chief executive Monwabisi Kalawe said the theft of 36 
smoke grenades was discovered early on Thursday morning at an 
ammunition plant near Swartklip. "Police are investigating," Kalawe said.
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