Township crime busters targeted

2013-04-25 00:00

SOME people who serve on community policing forums in the Durban area are being targeted as impimpi (informers).

This emerged yesterday at a community dialogue organised by the KwaZulu-Natal government in Hillcrest.

A member of a rural sub-CPF complained about the release of suspects on bail only to commit crime again.

“I was robbed and accused of being an impimpi of the police,” he said.

A Molweni sub-CPF member said they were being threatened by the criminals.

“We are scared because of threats made against us. We are accused of being impimpi,” he said

The shortage of police officers and vehicles and delays in response times topped the list of frustrations from the residents of Upper Highway suburbs and the nearby rural communities of Durban.

The meeting followed an increase in violent crimes in the Upper Highway suburbs of Pinetown, Hillcrest and Kloof.

The Hillcrest CPF’s Monica Bruun said the explosion in the area’s population over 10 years had not been matched with adequate policing resources.

“We have the same manpower. We are short of vehicles. Please help, otherwise we can’t fight crime,” she said.

Her sentiments were echoed by Pinetown CPF’s Charlton Sibaca, who said policing resources were very important because the lack resulted in police taking up to two hours to respond to calls for help.

“What do you expect in a shift of seven policemen with only two vehicles? Do you expect police visibility?” Sibaca asked.

A security company boss agreed that police in the area were terribly under-resourced.

“It is time the police do something,” the security company boss said, adding that crime had been rising over about two months.

The residents were in agreement that everyone must stand up to be counted in the fight against crime.

A Kloof resident said despite the limited resources, crime prevention should be everyone’s responsibility, however, he warned: “There is a concern that people will take the law into their own hands”.

Pastor Eric Tocknel, who is also a businessman, said: “It is time to go for the jugular”.

Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni noted the complaints.

“I can confirm that we as the police are duty bound in terms of the Constitution and Police Act, when complaints are raised that we precisely do as you request,” Ngobeni said.

She said challenges faced by the police stations had been brought to her attention by the station commanders of Pinetown and Hillcrest.

Ngobeni said three more vehicles would be made available there, and that additional officers had been deployed.

“We shall ensure that we improve continuously,” she added.

Premier Zweli Mkhize said his government would take up some of the issues raised with the national Police Department and the release of suspects on bail would be tackled with relevant authorities.

He also said they would also call for support regarding the resource shortages.

Mkhize also condemned the labelling of crime fighters as impimpis, saying the stigma needed to fall on criminals. “Let’s turn this around so that people are confident. They [criminals] are the ones who should feel intimidated,” he said.

Mkhize called on people to come together under the banner of Operation Sukuma Sakhe (Let us stand up and build) to tackle challenges at ward level.

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