KWADUKUZA Community Policing Forum chairperson Sipho Hlatsh- wayo thanked the community for working with the KwaDukuza SAPS in an effort to reduce crime over the festive season.
Hlatshwayo was speaking at a press briefing at the KwaDukuza SAPS boardroom on Monday where he highlighted some of the successes and challenges that police dealt with during the holiday season.
“The year 2015 was filled with many challenges that led to the SAPS strengthening their operations in the CBD area during the festive season.
“We did encounter a number of robberies in the KwaDukuza CBD, which shook residents, but we are thankful to the station commander for deploying a large number of SAPS members during the festive season,” said Hlatshwayo.
He expressed gratitude to Ward 15 residents, Chris Hani, for not taking the law into their own hands following the shooting of councillor Veli Luthuli, who rather allowed the police to play their role.
Hlatshwayo said the arrival of SAPS trainees that were deployed in the Kwa-Dukuza area had a significant impact in the reduction of crime during this time.
”The arrival of a number of SAPS trainees in our district instilled hope in the residents of KwaDukuza because they were seen everywhere - at beaches, in the CBD, and in residential areas.
“This was the first time we witnessed an increased number of police officers in our area and we salute the station commander and the community for making these holidays peaceful and enjoyable,” he said.
He urged the community and the Kwa- Dukuza SAPS to continue working together as pupils return to school, and also during the upcoming local government elections.
KwaDukuza SAPS operational commander, Colonel Mdumiseni Nene said the major robberies that took place in the CBD and which prompted increased police visibility during the silly season, occurred in November 2015, at two local retail stores.
One suspect was arrested in connection with the robbery that occurred at a local supermarket.
Nene said the most problematic offence during the festive season was drinking and driving and it was the main cause of a number of accidents.
“From 16 December 2015 to date we made 50 arrests for drinking and driving,” said Nene.
He said a major accident occurred on the R102 on 28 December 2015, at 6am, where four people were killed, including the driver, whom the police learnt was driving while under the influence of alcohol.
Nene said the heavy consumption of alcohol also contributes to crimes such as rape, domestic violence, assault and murder.
However, not a single case of murder was reported during the festive season, he said.
“I assume police visibility and the operations and raids we conducted in local shebeens and taverns had an impact,” he said.
He added that tavern owners who operated illegally during the festive season were charged.
Speaking more on the effects of heavy alcohol consumption, Nene made an example about a suspect who was arrested for rape in the Lindelani area, on Sunday.
“The suspect was drunk and claims he does not remember what happened, so you can see what happens when people are drunk,” he said.
KwaDukuza SAPS spokesperson, warrant officer Johannes Khoza thanked officers from the local municipality crime prevention unit as well as the KwaDukuza SAPS for their increased visibility during the festive season, which resulted in the reduction of criminal acts in areas such as the CBD and beaches.
“We say well done to our officers because not a single incident of drowning was reported in KwaDukuza,” said the spokesperson.
KwaDukuza Community Policing Forum co-ordinator, Lieutenant Nkosinathi Mbonambi said the forum would conduct various campaigns and programmes to educate the community about crime.
He said schools are some of the areas where these programmes will be rolled out because there has been an increase of violent and criminal activity on school premises.
“We are also going to tackle the issue of prostitution in the CBD,” he said.