Vote of no confidence in the Amanzimtoti police declared by local crime forum

2014-02-19 00:00

A VOTE of no confidence in the Amanzimtoti police has been declared by members of the local community policing forum.

A three-page statement detailing a number of issues, including refusal to open cases, slow or no response to call-outs, failure to charge alleged criminals and police officers involved in criminal activities was sent to the SAPS authorities on Monday. These included the national minister of police, the KZN provincial commissioner and the station commander at the Amanzimtoti police station.

According to Louise Marais, spokesperson for the Toti Crime Forum (TCF), there had been no response to the statement by late yesterday afternoon. The TCF represents Sectors 1 and 2 of the community police forum in Amanzimtoti. These sectors include Amanzimtoti, Warner Beach and Winkelspruit. A vote of no confidence in the Amanzimtoti SAPS was tabled and carried at a recent public meeting of Sector 1 and Sector 2 representatives.

When Marais checked earlier yesterday as to whether the statement had been received she was informed by SAPS officials that some of the statements were sent to incorrect e-mail addresses. “I got these from the SAPS website,” she said. “I have since been given the correct addresses and sent the statement again but there has been no response.”

Marais said the statement was released as a result of the frustration experienced by members of Sector 1 and Sector 2 forums. “We get no feedback from the police on anything,” she said. “All the items in the statement have been reported to the police. But we get no information back.”

Among matters detailed in the statement is one concerning a group of armed men allegedly involved in thefts, a hijacking, and robbing churchgoers of their cellphones, being released by the courts as they had not been charged within 48 hours after their arrest.

Another complaint related to a taxi owned by an SAPS member being used in a hijacking incident in Illovo on December 30. No action has been taken, according to the statement.

“It is the responsibility of the police to ensure that we live in a safe and protected environment,” said the statement. “However, if some police officers act as if they are above the law, and … nothing happens to them when they break the law, then what hope do we as a community have that criminals will be made accountable for their crimes?

“As a community, we are taking a stand and demand the service and protection from the police we deserve and are paying for — to live in a society where we can feel safe in our homes and neighbourhood, which is certainly not the case at present.”

An officer at the Amanzimtoti police station confirmed the statement had been received but that the station commander, Colonel Den Mkhize, was on leave until next month, and that the acting station commander, Colonel Kenneth Jali, was not in a position to comment on the statement.

According to SAPS spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker, provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Betty Mmamonnye Ngobeni had not received the statement but that once she did, she would meet with the “Cluster Commander, Community Policing Forum and other community leaders to address the concerns and find a solution that will ensure that police and the community work together to fight our common enemy, which is crime.”

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