‘We are bringing the army’

2017-11-22 06:02
Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula last week visited the community leaders in Helenvale. Photos:THANDI SETOKOE

Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula last week visited the community leaders in Helenvale. Photos:THANDI SETOKOE

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THE Minister of Police, Fikile Mbalula, has assured that no stones will be left unturned in an effort to eradicate crime and ensure that Nelson Mandela Bay’s gang-infested northern areas are made safer for the residents.

This was promised during his visit to Helenvale last Friday, which was aimed at mobilising the community to work hand in hand with the police in fighting crime.

Engaging with community leaders, Mbalula said it was of great concern to see the gang violence in the area.

“We can’t allow people to live in a state where they have given up hope and have let criminals rule,” Mbalula said. He said that the gangsters operated by distributing and selling drugs in the communities in order to survive. “We are going to make the space very narrow for them. We will never co-exist with criminals,” he asserted.

Mbalula said the government had to intervene and do practical things that the society and the communities will come to appreciate.

“This is not only about the police. We must work with the other departments as well,” Mbalula said, adding that social workers were needed in the area. He said unemployed people should be put into programmes to keep them from falling prey to social ills.

Responding to the issue of illegal firearms, Mbalula said in due time, soldiers were going to be brought in to confiscate illegal firearms.

“We are going to bring in the army. The soldiers are going to move street by street, house by house to get them,” Mbalula said.

NMB Member of Mayoral Committee for Safety and Security John Best agreed there is a long overdue urgent intervention needed in Helenvale.

“I applaud the fact that the Minister is going to bring in additional resources because we’ve got to get back to the basics – and that’s visible policing. Patrolling and taking back our streets,” Best said.

He pointed out that the area has an unbelievable amount of illegal firearms, adding that they have also invested in technology to assist in fighting crime.

“The Metro Police have established a force multiplier which is assisting the SAPS. We are not establishing a second police force – we all work together,” Best said.

He added that a new police station is underway. “As a council, we agreed in June this year that we needed another police station urgently and we have been given a plot in Bethelsdorp for this,” Best added.

The minister also commended the local police for their hard work to bring about safety in the Bay.

“The police are doing a thankless job, even with bullets flying in the face of death, you keep going forward.

“I want to encourage them to continue with the fantastic job that they are doing.”

Mbalula promised the community leaders that he would be back in two weeks’ time for further engagements and follow-ups.

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