National police minister Bheki Cele and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole have vowed to look into grievances raised after an imbizo in Mdantsane and East London this week.
The minister visited the EL CBD and Mdantsane Golden Highway taxi ranks to listen to community members’ concerns, as well as those of taxi drivers.
Hundreds of concerned citizens gathered at a marquee at Gompo Stadium, Duncan Village, to attend an imbizo with Cele, Sitole and provincial commissioner Lieutenent-General Liziwe Ntshinga.
Problems raised by irate community members included drug use, lack of police visibility, ensuring the safety of children to and from school and requests for mobile police stations.
They said these problems gave rise to murders, rapes and robberies.
Duncan Village resident Vathiswa Qoto singled out their main problem was a popular nightclub in this area that allegedly operated as a drug haven. She alleged and claimed police officers were on the payroll of the drug dealers.
A Bluewater community police forum (CPF) member and Kwelera resident said their police station was too far to gain access to.
“There are not enough police vans available and there are only three police officers to service the area. We really need a mobile police station,” she said.
Sitole promised action.
“We will issue a special operation for this problematic nightclub and make sure to involve all stakeholders and the municipality,” Sitole said.
Cele admitted to a shortage of police personnel and police vehicles in the area and said this must be addressed.
“There’s a shortage of police nationally and a recruitment drive must be done as there’s a low ratio of police officers servicing the communities,” Cele said.
He acknowledged that there’s a lack of technological development and progress in the police service to assist with the volumes of cases.
“We’ve also taken the decision not to fix police vehicles in far-off places. Clusters must find a central place and the municipal councillors must allocate a space that can be used. The youth should be employed to fix the cars,” said Cele.
Duncan Village CPF chairperson Ludumo Salman commended the Duncan Village station commander and his dedicated staff, despite the problems.
He also said the nightclub should be closed down as it contributed to the high crime rate. due to the high crime popular night club as crime related activities stemmed from there.
“Our CPF members also need a stipend to at least give motivation to others as the job we do is very dangerous. I commend our station commander and some of dedicated staff who lead patrols,” Salman said.