Police minister visits Northern Areas

2016-03-30 06:00
Polisieminister Nkosinathi Nhleko het eergister Kleinskool in die Baaise noordelike voorstede besoek. Hy is vergesel deur die Nelson Mandelabaai-onderburgemeester Bicks Ndoni (naaslinks), die waarnemende nasionale polisiehoof, kommissaris Kgomotso Phahlane, en die provinsiale kommissaris, Celiwe Bintsa.    Foto: WERNER HILLS

Polisieminister Nkosinathi Nhleko het eergister Kleinskool in die Baaise noordelike voorstede besoek. Hy is vergesel deur die Nelson Mandelabaai-onderburgemeester Bicks Ndoni (naaslinks), die waarnemende nasionale polisiehoof, kommissaris Kgomotso Phahlane, en die provinsiale kommissaris, Celiwe Bintsa. Foto: WERNER HILLS

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THEY must kill each other. Gangsters must take gangsters out, not innocent people and children.

One of Kleinskool’s residents said last week exactly what she thought of gangs when Police Minister Nathi Nhleko visited the area on Thursday.

Nhleko was accompanied by Nelson Mandela Bay deputy mayor Bicks Ndoni and acting national police commissioner Lieutenant-General Kgomotso Phahlane.

On a request from Phahlane that she show them at which houses there were drugs, she answered: “Then I will be dead by tonight”.

Another resident also had something to say.

“When we say who the gangsters are, then we are branded as piempers (informers) and then our houses are marked. We will then live in danger every day,” she said.

Nhleko went on foot patrol through Kleinskool and talked to many residents, among whom there was a self-confessed gang member. The police also searched houses.

During a media conference afterwards, Nhleko announced the police’s plan to combat gang-related crime.

Operation Lockdown started on March 11 and will continue until June 30.

“The operation includes a policing approach integrated with social aspects.

“We realise that one of the negative developments in the communities is a lack of trust in the police.

“We want to regain that trust. The plan is aimed at increasing the police’s visibility.”

Nhleko visited the gang-riddled Helenvale last month. During a community meeting in Booysenpark afterwards, he said the army would be asked to assist the police in the fight against gang-related crime.

Last week Nhleko said, however, that the army would not be part of the operation.

“The army must strengthen the police by offering assistance. Plans are in place to introduce Operation Fiela here.”

The DA, however, said the decision not to deploy the army in the Northern Areas is another broken ANC promise.

“This desperate community has been begging for assistance in its fight against gangsterism and crime, which has fallen on deaf ears in the ANC government,” DA mayoral candidate Athol Trollip said in a statement.

“The gangsterism crisis in PE’s Northern Areas needs rapid intervention and political will, both of which will not materialise under an ANC government,” said Trollip.

Members of the community are, however, not convinced that any intervention will help to regain their trust in the police.

Dr Lizette Oosthuizen, an educational expert, said a long road lay ahead for the police to regain the trust of the community.

“I think the visit was more about politics. The people need more than visits to convince them that the police will act decisively.”

An employee at a non-governmental organiastion in the Bethelsdorp area agreed.

“I don’t know how possible it is for the community to trust them.”

Benji Lottering, a resident of Kleinskool, said the minister’s visit would not bring about change in crime in the area.

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