KZN a step ahead of crime

2015-06-25 10:36
Members of various policing units and provincial government examined some of the recovered firearms after a media briefing about the successes of Operation Fiyela in KZN.

Members of various policing units and provincial government examined some of the recovered firearms after a media briefing about the successes of Operation Fiyela in KZN. (Amil Umraw)

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Durban - Police on Wednesday claimed their four-month Operation Fiyela had smashed a hole in organised crime in the province.

Since operations began on March 1 police had made more than 60 000 arrests, recovered more than 1 000 firearms and seized almost seven tons of marijuana.

After widespread criticism in the national media, provincial government along with the police on Wednesday announced the successes of the operation.

In a media briefing held in Pietermaritzburg, KZN Premier Senzo Mchunu, MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison Willies Mchunu and provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Mmamonnye Ngobeni sat to discuss urgent security and policing matters in the province.

During the meeting, Ngobeni highlighted the provincial successes of daily police activity as well as those of Operation Fiyela, a joint operation between government authorities and police to crack down on crime in the country.

According to Ngobeni’s report, since March this year 45 747 people have been arrested in the province for serious and violent crimes, while 21 465 were arrested for common offences.

• Of these arrests, 1 022 alleged criminals were caught for murder, 1 093 for rape and sexual assault, 2 877 for residential and business burglaries, and 8 742 for assault.

• Almost 1 000 arrests were made for various crimes against women and children in the three-month period between March and May.

These arrests resulted in 151 convictions and a total of 75 life sentences being handed out to offenders.

• Staggering rates of drug-related crimes emerged during Ngobeni’s report, with more than 13 367 people nabbed throughout the country as various policing units carried out 266 628 stop and search operations, 2 268 drug operations, and 819 cordon and search operations in the four-month period.

• More than 3 000 people were also arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The arrests came after 5 191 roadblocks were held throughout the province with 151 695 vehicle checkpoints being stationed on all major road ways.

From these arrests, millions of rands worth of recoveries were made ranging from counterfeit goods, liquor, drugs, firearms and ammunition.

Ngobeni acknowledged the influx of AK47 assault rifles into the province, and said that police were working to establish where the guns were coming from.

• More than 1 000 firearms were recovered from criminals, 105 of which were AK47s.

• Among other drugs, almost seven tons of marijuana, 160 kg of heroin and 5 245 mandrax tablets were taken off the streets.

• Police also cracked down on legal and illegal liquor outlets. These efforts resulted in 92 590 litres of alcohol being confiscated.

Ngobeni said she was unable to clarify if crime rates have dropped or increased from previous years, but she did say the crime rate is “fluctuating”.

“It is not only the responsibility of the police to stop crime. It is for all of us in the province to do so,” Ngobeni said.

Addressing the media delegation, Senzo Mchunu said the meeting came after a request was made in Cabinet two weeks ago for a presentation by the security cluster on the situation with regards to crime in the province.

After its introduction, Operation Fiyela came under fire by national media and non-governmental organisations who said the operation was xenophobic and targeted foreign nationals specifically.

Senzo Mchunu dismissed questions by journalists who asked how many of the arrests made in the province were of foreigners, saying that the operation is about tackling crime, regardless of who committed it.

According to Ngobeni’s report, 2 506 “undocumented persons” were also arrested.

“This is part of the KZN government saying police are doing good work, but there is always room for improvement,” Mchunu said.

MEC Willies Mchunu reiterated that provincial government is responsible for building a “united front against crime”.

He said there were high levels of violent crime in the taxi industry, the hostels in the province and from faction fighting. “Government is doing all it can to help the police,” he said.

‘Give up illegal firearms’

Following the release of Operation Fiyela’s results in the province, the African National Congress (ANC) in KwaZulu-Natal called on citizens to surrender illegal firearms to the police.

This was the reaction from the ANC provincial secretary Sihle Zikalala on Wednesday.

“The ANC is concerned that the majority of these firearms were recovered in areas such as uMsinga, Muden, Greytown and Nquthu which were previously affected by faction fights and taxi conflicts. These areas have also experienced a wave of crime, including high levels of murder and other contact crimes,” Zikalala said.

“The proliferation of firearms in the province is alarming. The fact that we have such a high level of illegal firearms in the hands of the civilians is of grave concern.”

Read more on:    durban  |  pietermaritzburg  |  crime

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