It’s good and bad in Kraaifontein

2016-09-04 17:00
Constable Laeeq Engelbrecht, his wife Wesaal and their daughter Aneeqah outside their home in Paarl. Picture: Bienne Huisman

Constable Laeeq Engelbrecht, his wife Wesaal and their daughter Aneeqah outside their home in Paarl. Picture: Bienne Huisman

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Despite station commander Brigadier Gerda van Niekerk and her team’s best efforts, Kraaifontein Police Station on Cape Town’s northern outskirts has remained on the list of South Africa’s top 10 murder precincts.

According to SA Police Service (SAPS) crime statistics, based on incidents reported to police between April 2015 and March 2016, seven out of 10 of the country’s most murderous areas border Cape Town.

Last year, Kraaifontein was a newcomer to the infamous list with 141 murders. This year, police officers recorded 152 murders in the area.

However, the police men and women in this precinct remain undeterred.

Speaking from Kraaifontein police station, Constable Laeeq Engelbrecht (32) told City Press: “It is hectic, very hectic. But we are committed.”

Engelbrecht received two awards for excellent police work in June after saving two lives: that of a pedestrian and the life of his partner, Constable Elton de Koker, whose gun misfired during a shoot-out in Voortrekker Road earlier this year.

“We were doing patrol work. It was about 1.15am and I was driving past the Total garage in Voortrekker Road, when two suspects started shooting at us,” he recalled.

“I stopped the car. When I looked up six men had climbed from a Corsa bakkie and they were shooting at us, too. So, there were eight people shooting at us.

“We got out of the vehicle, trying to get to cover while retaliating, and a shoot-out started. Five guys jumped back into the bakkie and drove off, while two ran away. I shot one dead, the firearm still in his hand.

“Elton’s firearm was faulty; it would not fire. So, I had to shoot on his behalf, too.”

This was the third armed robbery Engelbrecht foiled at this particular garage this year, he said.

As a result, he clinched a Rotary Club Bellville Award and a Kraaifontein Police Station Heroism Award for saving two lives. He is also in the running for a special SAPS cash incentive prize.

Engelbrecht lives in Paarl with his wife Wesaal, a personal gym trainer with a sports science honours degree. Their daughter, Aneeqah, turns four in November.

Engelbrecht’s compassion made headlines last year when photographs of him sharing his fish-and-chips lunch with an elderly homeless woman, Magdalene du Preez, who sleeps next to a strip mall in Kraaifontein, went viral.

The photograph was snapped by De Koker while the pair took a break from patrol work last September.

At the time, Kraaifontein police station organised a birthday party for Du Preez, who turned 60 on October 2.

And what has happened to Du Preez?

“We tried to get her into a shelter for the homeless, but she did not want to go. She wants to sleep there next to the mall and asked us to leave her be,” said Engelbrecht.

He added that policing is a calling – and that it runs in his family’s blood.

Kraaifontein Police Station serves an area of about 300 000 people with combined household incomes ranging from R29 400 to R230 000 a year, according to the 2011 census.

Read more on:    kraaifontein  |  murder  |  crime statistics

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