Community want crime-busting unit reinstated

2015-09-30 06:00

COMMUNITY members have drawn up a petition to reinstate the Combined Action Team (CAT) in the city after a surprise decision was made by local police to disband the initiative.

CAT, after eight months of operation, has made numerous arrests and been at the centre of various apprehensions of criminals, gangs and syndicates in Pietermaritzburg.

CAT, a group of 14 members most of whom were policemen, are highly acclaimed by the community. Last month a meeting was held with the community to address their concerns and to forge a way forward to eliminate illegal tavern operations, specifically near schools. Teachers, principals, pupils, ward councillors and members of the public were at the meeting. Earlier this month the operation launched a call centre which enabled the community to report issues or tips-offs to the team.

The petition to reinstate CAT was started last Friday and already has over 100 signatures.

Speaking to Maritzburg Fever, Community Police Forum chairman Jay Jugwanth said that the disbandment of CAT has angered the community as the project yielded good results during the operation.

“The unexpected announcement of the dissolution of CAT angered residents as they comprehended the team as effective in addressing crime. I have been inundated with calls demanding explanations. There is an online petition calling for CAT to be reinstated. The CPF supports the community in this call. There is also a hard copy of the petition that is circulating in the community,” he said. According to the information on the petition the team made more than 430 arrests during this period.

“Team members are highly skilled and professional, [they] maintained the values of SAPS and instilled confidence in citizens with their swift, dedicated crime combating efficiency and effectiveness. Your support and commitment to a safer community is greatly appreciated,” reads the petition.

There is also a page on Facebook called “Bringing back the Combined Action Team - CAT in Pietermaritzburg”.

Community members who signed the petition online expressed their concerns over the closure of the project because they felt the team was making progress in the community.

Facebook comments

Collin Keith Marion

Absolutely pathetic, leaders must stand up n be responsible for the crime that’s going to spiral out of control, I take my hat of to CAT, they are doing a top job, so y is it when something works they scrap it, unless they have hidden agendas, it’s a disgrace, criminals are smiling.

Pat Riot

Undoubtedly the most ridiculous and irrational decision ever!

Just look at CAT’s record for heaven’s sake. The only logical reason must be a fear that this crime fighting unit may pounce on the people who have disbanded them!

Rikesh Ishwarlall

This is a no brainer! CAT has made over 430 arrests in the past 6 months. Now why would someone want to dissolve this unit, unless of course there are a few skeletons in the closet?

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