Streets taken by storm

2015-09-01 06:00
Metro police officer Randall Petersen (left) and law enforcement’s Clinton Sylvester walk out of Olga Court during one of their search operations. 

earl haupt

Metro police officer Randall Petersen (left) and law enforcement’s Clinton Sylvester walk out of Olga Court during one of their search operations. PHOTO: earl haupt

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Just as the dark, grey clouds began to descend on the Cape Peninsula, Cape Town’s law enforcement authorities swooped down on the People’s Centre in Manenberg on Friday.

Police, metro police, traffic services and various specialised units, including the newly-launched stabilisation unit from the City of Cape Town’s law enforcement department, came out in their numbers in a joint operation to curb criminal activity in the area.

The operation, dubbed “Operation Eldorado”, was also a chance for those entrusted with enforcing the law to send a strong message to would-be criminals, with the community all too alert to their increased presence.

The operation was led by the police’s Major Wynand Muller and metro police’s Director Kitching. They briefed and deployed the various specialised units into known problem areas throughout the suburb.

Although the primary focus was to curb criminal and gang activity by searching various properties, the City’s social housing unit was also present to clear graffiti-riddled walls.

According to Manenberg police’s spokesperson Lieutenant Ian Bennett, the operation was focused and intelligence-driven.

“The community just would not know that we were there as an operational force, but would also see the visual difference,” said Bennett in reference to the social housing unit’s work in removing gang insignia from boundary walls. An area of 1 143m2 was repainted. The 10-hour operation yielded varying levels of success throughout the day. The biggest being, according to Bennett, that not a single community complaint was made throughout the duration of the operation.

Ten people were arrested for crimes ranging from traffic violations to the illegal possession of drugs. A 54-year-old woman was arrested for the possession of an illegal firearm.

Almost 30 identified drug houses were searched, and four men were arrested as a result. Drugs that were confiscated included 180 mandrax tablets valued at R10 500, 17 sticks of dagga, valued at R170, and 15 units of tik, valued at R300, were confiscated.

Police searched 24 shebeens in the area. Seven were fined, totalling R15 500. Two illegal shebeens were also closed down and will be monitored.

A 14-year-old girl was arrested with dagga after her school principal handed her over to law enforcement officials during one of the 10 school searches the unit did.

“Problem buildings” were identified and the legal owners of these 24 buildings will soon be receiving notices to improve their condition before the City takes action against them.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security, says: “This was a worthwhile exercise because we sniffed out a number of criminals and tackled by-products of criminal activity, like problem buildings and illegal occupation of City rental stock.”

“We will liaise with the police about doing similar operations in other parts of the city,” says Smith.

“This operation will continue and all law enforcement agencies policing the Manenberg policing precinct are serious about ensuring the safety of the community,” says Bennett.

In four other operations conducted by the Nyanga police cluster last week, 281 people were arrested, while 455 units of tik, 300 mandrax tablets, 274 units of heroin, 10 units of khat and 1.68kg of dagga were seized after searching 122 known drug houses.

Almost 780 litres of alcohol was confiscated during searches at 48 shebeens, which yielded 55 arrests.

Police also confirmed that 11 illegal and unlicensed firearms were recovered and will be sent for ballistic testing. Traffic fines to the value of R17 500 were issued for various traffic offences, ranging from unlicensed vehicles to unlicensed drivers.

Anyone with information regarding any illegal activity can call 10111 or metro police on 107 as well as Crime Stop on 0860 010 111.

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