Tension over police building

2014-04-24 00:00

POLICE have no official record of a pre-fabricated building donated to the Amanzintoti police to curb rampant crime.

Nearly 18 months on, the building in Illovo is still standing vacant and what was expected to cement relations between the SAPS and residents is now destroying their relationship.

And it seems while the squabble continues. The prefab building, restored and furnished by the Amanzintoti community who raised R70 000 through local churches for the project, is now caught in red tape limbo and is the subject of an internal investigation.

The prefab is on an existing serviced site once used by the police before the buildings became unsafe. An existing prefab on the site was completely repaired and furnished with the money raised.

Louise Marais, spokesperson for the Toti Crime Forum, which incorporates Winkelspruit, Amanzintoti and Warner Beach, said the building was handed over to the Amanzintoti police in September 2012.

“We were under the impression that it would be used as a satellite station. This had been discussed at community police forum meetings. The residents of Illovo are constantly victims of crime and the R603 where the station is based is often used by criminals as a getaway route,” said Marais.

But the provincial police said the location of the prefab has not been deemed a site for a satellite station.

Provincial spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker said the circumstances surrounding its donation and acceptance by Toti police station commander Colonel Den Mkhize are being investigated.

“According to the cluster commander, there was never an official request for a satellite police station within the Amanzimtoti area. He personally spoke to the parties concerned months ago and explained to them the process that needs to be followed if they require a satellite police station. To date he has not received such a request from the group.

“It is puzzling that these individuals have the time to go to the media whereas they cannot make a simple request in writing,” said Naicker.

He said no donation was made to the SAPS in accordance with their official donation procedure.

But Marais is adamant that the satellite station must be operational.

“We have not tried to get the keys back. We are busy sending submissions to make sure this satellite station is operational. We will not rest until this issue is rectified,” said Marais.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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