Operation Hardstick: Cops out in force
Mandla Khoza, African Eye
Polokwane - Operation Hardstick in Limpopo has already netted 120 suspects since its launch on Friday.
About 2 000 police officers and other law enforcement agencies, including members of the K9 unit, the Hawks, crime intelligence, public order policing unit and the tactical response team (TRT), have been deployed across the province to clamp down on crime.
"We arrested 120 suspects in 24 hours, which proves that there are more suspects to be arrested. We are strongly targeting crime hot spots, mostly around shebeens and taverns," Limpopo police spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi told African Eye News Service on Monday.
Provincial deputy police commissioner Major General Berning Ntlemeza said incidents such as murder, rape, and assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm (GBH) were sparked by heavy drinking.
"We are going to target taverns and shebeens, both illegal and legal, in search of the most wanted suspects whom we believe go there at night before committing crime," he said.
He said illegal taverns and shebeens would be shut down, while fines will be imposed on those who contravene the liquor act.
He said the operation will also include roadblocks and stop-and-search operations over the next few months.
"We believe criminals will have no movement around the province," said Ntlemeza.
"Criminals beware - we're stepping up a gear to crack down on the drug dealers, burglars and thieves who make our lives a misery."
The arrests over the weekend include three most wanted suspects, six housebreakers, 14 drug dealers and 19 illegal immigrants, amongst others.
Forty-four people were also charged with public drinking, and seven with driving drunk.
Eight illegal shebeens were shut down and fined R1 500. Police also confiscated the liquor.