Break-ins, business robberies increase

2017-11-15 06:01
Umgungundlovu North Cluster commander General Phumelele Makhoba. PHOTO: file

Umgungundlovu North Cluster commander General Phumelele Makhoba. PHOTO: file

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HOUSE break-ins and business robberies remain a problem in Pietermaritzburg.

This was revealed by Umgungundlovu South Cluster commander General Phumelele Makhoba and North Cluster commander General Bongi Sithole at a business against crime breakfast with the KZN MEC of Transport, Community and Liaison, Mxolisi Kaunda and the business community at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall last Thursday.

Kaunda spoke to guests about how they can fight crime.

Makhoba, who manages 11 police stations under Umgungundlovu District, said break-ins and business robberies have increased since the beginning of the year.

She said police stations that contribute to crime statistics include the PMB Police­ Station (formerly called the Loop Street Police Station) with 231 cases and Alexandra Police Station with 41 cases - both house and business break-ins - reported from April 1 to November 8.

She said Alexandra Police Station contributed to the business robbery stats with 22 cases reported from the beginning of the year.

“During break-ins they [perpetrators] gain access [into houses] by forcing the doors or windows open. In business robberies they are armed with knives or firearms and their target is cash, electrical appliances, groceries and airtime. Those we have arrested in this regard are normally youths, their age being between 18 and 35.

“We encourage businesses to report crime no matter how minor they think it is so we can establish where and what the problem is. They must also not keep large amounts of cash at the business, they must rather use electronic funds transfer.”

Makhoba said they would like to see business forums established that get involved in fighting crime.

Sithole said in their cluster house break-ins and business robberies are common.

The Mountain Rise and Howick police stations also contribute to the business robbery crime stats.

She said Howick Police Station contributes to the fraud statistics.

Ward 27 councillor Manqoba Ngubo promised to do everything to make the CBD safe.

“We have a big problem in West and Pine streets with people breaking by-laws. This problem needs to taken seriously and attended to,” he said.

Ward 31 councillor Roosana Ahmed said unemployment is a contributing factor to crime and drugs and said people must be provided with skills.

Umgungundlovu District Chief Whip Dan Ndlela asked Msunduzi Municipality leadership to manage how the CBD is run.

Ndlela said at night Longmarket Street is “like a shebeen with people breaking all the by-laws.”

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business CEO, Melanie Veness said it is important for business people to attend CPF meetings.

“We encourage everyone who wants to join to do so.

“If we work together we can find solutions and we will be able to address these issues.

“The massive challenge started when the Ematsheni Beer Hall was closed, now those who lived there are now living on the street.”

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