Task team to tackle EL Crime

Senior crime intelligence officers are visiting Buffalo City Metro tasked with cracking down on crime which has suddenly escalated in and around the city.

The Daily Dispatch has learnt that a special intervention team has to craft a plan to help tackle the crime which continues to threaten the safety of its citizens.

On the radar is Fleet Street police station which insiders say has been in the red for years due to the seriousness of crime reported in the area.

Police Minister Bheki Cele
Police Minister Bheki Cele Image: Lulamile Feni/File

However, national police spokesman Vish Naidoo would not reveal much detail yesterday.

“It is possible that might be the case but we will not talk about this until we have normalised the situation. We have national intervention projects all over the country. Talking and writing about these would defeat the objective of having implemented those interventions.”

In the space of three days last week from Thursday to Saturday there were five armed robberies in the metro.

In the most recent on Saturday employees at Caltex Garage along Amalinda Main Road were held at gunpoint. Manager Erharv Richter said a robber, who appeared to act alone, used a BB gun and made off with R12 000.

“The cashiers heard some noise in the kitchen and the burglar came through the window and pointed a gun at them. He told them to open the till and collected all the money and left two BB guns on the floor. It’s getting scary because this is not the first time we have been robbed.”

The garage was robbed in October last year.

Cambridge police spokesman Captain Mluleki Mbi said they were investigating a case of business robbery.

On Friday evening two gun-wielding men pounced on a cashier at Andy’s Corner in Southernwood. The owner, who did not want to be named, said the two men posed as customers before pulling out guns which they pointed at the cashier demanding that the till be opened.

“They walked into the shop and went to get food at the back, but when they came to the front to pay, one pulled out a gun and told the cashier to open the till while the second guy grabbed the till. They took over R3 000.”

The business has fallen prey to armed criminals twice in six weeks. “I got robbed by three guys with guns just six weeks ago. They even pepper-sprayed me on that occasion and took R4 000.”

East London police spokesman Captain Nkosikho Mzuku confirmed this, saying the East London police were investigating a case of business robbery.

He added that the Gonubie police station was investigating another business robbery after a petrol station in Gonubie was robbed at the weekend. He could not provide any more details.

“Intelligence driven operations and patrols are conducted around the business areas, including the shops and malls, in an attempt to prevent these robberies.”

He refused to comment on the reports of national crime intelligence officers being deployed in East London.

“This office cannot comment on whether national crime intelligence officers are going to be deployed in East London or not. Please feel free to contact the national spokesperson on this matter. Either way this matter cannot be communicated with the media as it forms part of operational strategies.”

On Thursday, two of East London’s biggest malls, Vincent Park and Hemingways, were both hit by armed men.

The Telkom Mobile store in Vincent Park was robbed of an undisclosed number of mobile phones in a morning heist while hours later the Incredible Connection Store in Hemingways was also robbed of an undisclosed number of of items. No arrests have been made.

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