Less than two months after taking over as police commissioner in Gauteng, Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros has started shaking up SA’s most crime-ridden province.
He faces a tough job. More than 50 per cent of the country’s crime is committed in Gauteng, the smallest but most densely populated province.
Soon after being appointed Petros (50) declared, ‘‘If you fight crime in Gauteng you fight crime nationally.’’
He’s aware that many people expect him to wave a magic wand and make crime disappear. ‘‘It doesn’t work like that,’’ he says. ‘‘It’s going to be hard – but we are going to win the fight against crime.’’
In his short time in office in Joburg he’s made a difference. He’s introduced more patrol vehicles on highways that had hijacking hotspots, authorised the servicing of vehicles and other infrastructure at various police stations and, in September alone, ensured 30 corrupt cops were arrested and successfully prosecuted.
‘‘If people thought they were getting a commissioner who would remain behind his desk and quietly oversee his R1,2-billion budget they were wrong,’’ he says.
‘‘I’m not here to win any popularity contests. I’m here to bring the crime rate down. Bodies are being picked up in the gutters in Booysens, people hijack buildings and extort money from tenants, bodies are found in mineshafts. There’s a lot to be done here – we have to find out what makes this province bubble with crime like a witch’s cauldron.’’
He believes the cornerstone of good policing is more police visibility.
‘‘My goal is to ensure every citizen sees a police officer on the street at least every 10 minutes.’’
Petros is ready to restore some sparkle to the tarnished image of the City of Gold. If he can do that he believes the rest of the country will follow.
Don't miss YOU, 21 October 2010 for more on Mzwandile Petros' plans.