Police arrest five in Hillbrow raid

2011-02-18 15:03

Hillbrow police today raided several buildings and arrested five people on outstanding warrants of arrests.

Called Operation Women’s Network, the SAPS Women’s Network Champions participated in the joint operation with the Hillbrow SAPS, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department and city street patrollers.

The raid also resulted in the confiscation of 21 MTN sim cards, one plastic bag of dagga and fake DVDs.

Driving in a convoy through the streets of Hillbrow, suspected drug dealers, illegal immigrants and wanted criminals ran in different directions when they saw the police vehicles.

Police also fired rubber bullets at drug dealers in a park, but they know it is a short-term solution.

“The minute we drive away, they come back. Look at all the plastic bags lying here. All of them contained drugs,” one policeman said.

At a dilapidated building police quickly moved inside and lined up all male residents to check if they have any outstanding warrants of arrest by using the Morpho Touch fingerprint scanner.

Five men were quickly identified as suspects police have been looking for.

Police refer to today’s raid as part of their disruptive operations that includes using the element of surprise to catch criminals.

“We have an operational plan in place to disrupt criminal activities in our area,” Police spokeswomen Sergeant Jenny Pillay said.

Senior policewomen from the SAPS Women’s Network also participated in the raid in an effort to fight prostitution, women and child abuse, and drug abuse.

Colonel Makoma Buthelezi (50), the highest ranking female officer in the eight police stations in the Hillbrow Cluster and a Women’s Network Champion, says they want to assist women who are caught up in the clutches of drug and prostitution lords who use the women in their criminal activities.

“Zimbabwean guys can bring in women from Zimbabwe as prostitutes, only for us to find these women are still girls,” she says.

With 25 years of service in the police, Buthelezi says she has never before been so motivated.

Excited about her role, she says there has been a real change in police culture to empower women police officers.

“General (Bheki) Cele and his senior personnel motivates us all.

They are men of action and it is working. We never before had top managers who join us on raids,” Cele said recently while on a Hillbrow police raid.

“Change is what revitalises people. There has been a lot of change and we are motivated.”

Looking out into the streets of Hillbrow, she talks about “Nigerians changing dollars” on street corners.

“I’ll come back for them,” Buthelezi says while swinging her pump-action rubber bullet shotgun across her shoulder.

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