It was on the 3rd of January 2019 when National Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele visited East London as part of monitoring Safer Festive Operation. While doing a walkabout in one of the busiest taxi rank and intersection at Highway in Mdantsane a senior citizen invited her to visit a crime infested Duncan Village and witness unhindered lawlessness. Duncan Village is one of the oldest and densely populated settlements in East London.
The Minister returned to Eastern Cape today to see and hear for himself the challenges facing this community because of crime, drugs and unemployment.
Accompanied by National Commissioner-General Khehla Sitole and Deputy National Commissioner Policing-Lt Gen Masemola, Provincial Commissioner Lt Gen Ntshinga and police senior management together descended at Gompo stadium to a packed tent full of community members who wanted to get rid of crime.
Young and old, Community Police Forum and community in blue took turns to share their concerns with the police leadership.
A local liquor outlet called Carlifornia was identified as having a direct link to increasing crime, drug and alcohol abuse in this area. Many residents' complaints were about long distance between their villages and police station including vehicle and police shortage. The community were heated in speech but were united in the search for lasting solution to crime.
National Commissioner, General Sitole's response recognized a universal request for mobile station. He did not mince words and offered a short term solution. "The matter will be attended next Monday with the assistance of provincial Commissioner", he resolved.
On the challenges faced by school all sector commanders will be activated to patrol after school.
Turning to the problem of Carlifornia, a special intergovernmental integrated operation between relevant government departments and municipalities will be implored, said the National Commissioner. Addressing police visibility he promised a special task team by Inspectorate and Vispol will gather data on the situation on the ground to submit to national office.
Minister Cele also responded touching on the issue of illegal sale of alcohol alleging that some of liquor selling licenses have been issued without community involvement.
"Some of the shebeens are issued closer to school. As government we do need to fix the problems of liquor licences. The way Carlifornia is giving us problem, we need to revisit its license conditions. Shebeens are a contributor to rape, murder, underage drinking and this needs to be given close scrutiny. If a shebeen commits the three offences they should be shut down."
Responding to the issue of police shortage he said it is s a national challenge. "According to UN police to community ratio is one to 200 000 but in South Africa it is currently 1-390 000. We don't recruit anyone who failed in other government departments. In 2010 we recruited 100 entrants with Bachelor of Science. We have recruited 5000 new police trainees and we plan to increase in each year going forward. As for vehicles we are taking a decision to have a youth training initiatives in our respective clusters to end outsourcing vehicle repairs to far located police garages."
The minister also appealed to the community to report police who are breaking the law so that they can be weeded from the organization. He condemned acts of corrupting police and instead encouraged the community to work and help police in their work of fighting crime.
Source: South African Police Service