Don't beat up criminals, just hold them tight till police arrive - Nhleko

By Drum Digital
12 April 2016

Police Minister Nathi Nhleko on Tuesday said it was clear there was a breakdown in the relationship between the police and the KwaMashu community in Durban.

This after members voiced their concerns during a Justice, Crime Prevention and Security community outreach imbizo at the KwaMashu sports grounds.

But he cautioned the community not to assault suspects when they caught them.

"You cannot assault them because this is breaking the law. Just hold them tightly until the police arrive… I don’t want to hear that a suspect was beaten up…"

Nhleko was accompanied by Justice and Correctional Services Minister Michael Masutha, National Prosecuting Authority boss Shaun Abrahams and Hawks boss Major General Berning Ntlemeza.

The delegation visited the KwaMashu hostel, where residents are living in squalor with exposed illegally connected electricity wires crisscrossing above their shacks. This is the same hostel where four people were shot and killed on Sunday.

Residents came out in their numbers to see the minister in the hope that he would provide solutions to the problems they faced at the hostel.

During the imbizo, some residents complained that when they reported crime to the police, they hesitated in making arrests. Others alleged that the police knew who the suspects were, but were taking bribes from them.

Nhleko told the residents he was concerned about the conditions under which they were living. He said one of the reported areas of tensions within the hostel was the allocation of housing units.

"We need to step up our efforts in dealing with crime in the area. No matter how many policemen and policewomen you have on the ground, if you do not deal with the social issues, and matters of development, you will always have problems."

He said, despite the challenges facing the community, residents should continue to work with the police.

"It is obvious there is a poor relationship between the community and the police... but we will do better. We need to work together to create peace in communities."

Nhleko said he had been briefed about a new Durban drug called Mercedes which had recently claimed the lives of several teenagers. He said fighting drugs in communities was everyone’s responsibility.

He also said the police were ready for the 2016 local government elections.

Masutha said the department was aware of the concerns raised by the KwaMashu community.

"The community said they report matters and some police are in cahoots with the criminals, and they even share information with the criminals.

"The clarion call we need to make to the police, magistrates, prosecutors and others is that the only way we can make our criminal justice system credible, is to be credible, honest and loyal ourselves."

Source: News24 

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