‘Too many taverns’

2013-09-16 00:00

SAFE City is concerned about the level of violence and gruesome attacks on people in the West and Langalibalele streets precinct, and they are pointing fingers at the numerous taverns in that part of the city.

Safe City general manager Lucas Holtz­hausen said of particular concern are incidents of fighting related to the ready availability and abuse of liquor, and the possession of dangerous weapons.

“We report the incidents to the police when it happens, but most of the times the perpetrators disappear before the police can react.

“These people carry dangerous weapons like pangas and big knives, from what we can see on the CCTV footage,” said Holtzhausen.

Pietermaritzburg Community Policing Forum chair Claire Crawley said they were having meetings with the KZN Liquor Board and Safe City to find ways of fighting the illegal operations. “We will have to find a way to force the operators to comply with the terms and conditions of their licences, like the opening and closing times.

“We have too many taverns in a very concentrated area. The Liquor Board will have to help by giving us more information about the taverns or shebeens in the city.

“These incidents start happening from Thursday to Sundays. During nights and the early hours of the morning — that is when the incidents are recorded,” said Crawley.

Holtzhausen said that a total of 184 fights were detected on the CCTV network in August. Of that, 80 incidents happened in the West and Langalibalele streets precinct.

He said of the incidents of robbery, half of them happened in the same area. They recorded 30 incidents of the carrying of dangerous weapons in that area. Traffic violations continue to be addressed, with 68 fines issued and eight vehicles impounded, while the PA system was used 18 times to alert the public about possible dangerous situations.

Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma said by establishing Safe City, the council was being proactive in dealing with crime in the city.

“It is very encouraging to learn that the initiative is yielding positive results. Through Safe City, together with the traffic and security department, we are contributing to the combating of crime in partnership with the police.”

He added that they are looking at increasing capacity in the department to be even more effective in dealing with crime.

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