Police minister leads Imbizo on crime

2015-11-18 06:00
KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu and Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko at the Imbizo on crime which was held at the Thembeni Sports Ground on Friday Photo: Makhosandile Zulu

KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu and Minister of Police Nathi Nhleko at the Imbizo on crime which was held at the Thembeni Sports Ground on Friday Photo: Makhosandile Zulu

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INTENDED to intensify action against crime in the iLembe District, an Imbizo led by the Minister of police, Nathi Nhleko and KwaDukuza mayor Ricardo Mthembu, was held at the Thembeni Sports Ground on Friday.

Members of the public were given an opportunity to voice their concerns and question the minister about interventions the police would undertake to address crime in the district.

Taxi wars, politically motivated violence, and faction fights were some of the issues that were raised.

Furthermore, there was a resounding call for members of the public to refrain from purchasing stolen goods as it creates a demand which criminals supply through theft.

Taverns (shebeens) that operate past regulated hours were another concern that was raised. The general perception was that these outlets are a source of violent - sometimes fatal - conflicts, and criminals use them as a base.

Minister Nhleko said local government, the provincial Department of Economic Development and the national Department of Trade and Industry should ensure that licenses for operating taverns are not easily awarded.

A number of residents accused the police force of dragging its feet, and not responding in time. Another accusation was that police are in cahoots with criminals.

Nhleko said not all police officers are involved with criminals, saying it is untrue that the reason behind the killing of officers is that they are involved in crime.

Other speakers lamented the shortage of police stations in previously disadvantaged areas, and the seemingly lengthy process that is followed when a murdered police officer has to be replaced by a new recruit.

Nhleko said if new police stations cannot be constructed immediately then the government would have to consider building satellite police stations.

One resident asked the minister to look at the demarcation of police stations, especially in Maphumulo, because people end up waiting for hours because they have to report a crime in an area furtherer than where it occurred.

“Travelling from Esthundu to Matimatolo is about 45 kilometres, but travelling from Esthundu to Maphumulo is about 10 kilometres. Sometimes cars are involved in an accident near Esthundu, but people are forced to wait a while because they have to wait for police from Matimatolo due to the borders,” he said.

The minister was also asked to consider using a rotational system for police so that they are not based in one police station for long periods of time until they are susceptible to being corrupted.

With regards to drugs, residents believe the root of the problem is not being weeded out effectively because dealers are not being arrested, rather their peddlers on the streets are, and the justice system is perceived as being too lenient towards dealers.

A complaint was raised about the taxi rank being a nest for whoonga users, and that schools are also affected by drug dealing within their premises and conflicts that arise outside of school.

Parents were urged to play a more hands on role.

Some chairpersons of community policing forums (CPFs) from across the district asked the minister to provide resources that members of the CPFs could use when conduction patrols as criminals are armed and dangerous.

The minister said members of CPFs would not be issued with a firearm and that CPFs should conduct their patrols along with police officers.

One Thembeni resident, Mandla Nyawo (39) was not particularly pleased with the minister’s response.

He had asked what would be done about the increase of cars being stolen and apparently sent out of the country to Mozambique.

Last month, Nyawo and his family were victims of a crime which nearly claimed his life, he says.

Four or five armed suspects broke into his home, shot him, took the keys to his vehicle, and kidnapped his wife and maid.

“My wife and maid were kidnapped and held at gunpoint by the criminals who made off with the vehicle. They were dumped in Manguzi near the border of South Africa and Mozambique,” he said.

Nyawo managed to crawl to his eight-year-old child and told her to alert the neighbours, he says.

Speaking about the Imbizo, Nyawo said: “I went there to find out what the government is doing about our cars which are stolen and sold in Mozambique.
“Our government knows about this, but they are not doing anything about it. The minister did not even respond to my question.”

In closing, the minister said he would consider all the issues that were raised and that his department would work closely with the provincial department of Community Safety and Liaison to curb issues such as taxi wars and conflicts in schools.



“I went there to find out what the government is doing about our cars which are stolen and sold in Mozambique. Our government knows about this, but they are not doing anything about it. The minister did not even respond to my question.

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