The launch of a multi-disciplinary crime fighting initiative, Operation Fiela, by law enforcement agencies was delivered with tough talk about uprooting crime.
The operation is a national drive by various state law enforcement agencies and is being launched in various provinces.
The Free State launch was on Thursday (01/02) at Hoffman Square in Bloemfontein.
The tough-talking Maj. Gen. Tholi Afonso, acting Free State police commissioner, and Sam Mashinini, MEC for Police, Roads and Transport, vowed that their forces will take a tough stance.
“We will pounce everywhere, because crime is everywhere. We cannot outline which areas are hotspots. One of the things that we are working together on is to ensure that criminals remain behind bars when arrested, hence we are working with all law enforcement agencies, which include the Justice Department. I’m confident that will we achieve the objective of making our streets safe,” said Mashinini.
He said the South African National Defence Force will be called in where necessary as a specialised wing to deal with violent crime.
Afonso pointed out that armed robbery, which can occur at any time of the day, remains a concern. She was responding to a question relating to a daytime armed robbery at Bloemfontein’s Bram Fischer airport last Wednesday (31/01), when heavily-armed robbers took off with an undisclosed amount of money. A video showing the robbers striking was even put on social media platforms.
“All types of crime should be dealt with. We are calling on the community and everyone else to do their part to fight crime. Inform the police about criminal elements instead of harbouring criminals. This operation will be different than other crime fighting campaigns conducted previously and the public will see that,” said Afonso.
While criminals appear to be getting away with murder due to the apparent inability of the law enforcement agencies to investigate cases, Mashinini said measures are in place to plug loopholes to ensure perpetrators are brought to book.
“One of the things is that we are going to make all cases water-tight, hence we are continuing to sharpen law enforcement agencies to investigate cases which are of a complex nature,” he said.
Mashinini was responding to a question relating the court having let Nthabiseng Betty Mokhali (49) walk away scot-free after her case was dismissed in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court. She was charged for contravention of South African Reserve Bank Section 32 regulations following her arrest by the Hawks. More than R1 million in counterfeit money was found in her possession.
According to Capt. S’fiso Nyakane, Hawks provincial spokesperson, the senior prosecutor withdrew the case against Mokhali because the Hawks did not apply section 251 (a) when they set up a sting operation to catch her.
Both Afonso and Mashinini are confident that tough talk against crime will amount to success, urging the community to play its part in rooting out crime.
“This thing of people getting killed by criminals, and when the police question, no one knows, must come to an end. Let me warn those thinking they are clever, we are going to deal with them harshly,” said Mashinini.
Meanwhile, the police are appealing for public assistance in finding four armed men who killed Sgt Motse Monyaki on Saturday (03/02) in Phahameng, Bloemfontein. The robbers reportedly shot the officer and escaped in his blue Polo. His official firearm, a plasma TV and three cellphones were stolen.
Col Thandi Mbambo, provincial police spokesperson, said the killers attacked the officer and his wife at their house at night. Anyone who has information is requested to contact investigative officer Lt Col Tankiso Sefuthi on 071-411-7650.