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A traffic stopper


“The provincial commissioner is utilising all human and physical resources as part of dealing with crime in the Northern Cape.”

THE NORTHERN Cape Provincial Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Risimati Shivuri, launched the Province’s festive season operation in style yesterday, abseiling down from the four-storey building of the Department of Transport, Safety and Liaison to officially hand over the Safer Festive Season Operations plan to the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul, and the MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nontobeko Vilakazi.

The launch saw the closure of a portion of Sidney Street, where the Department’s offices are located, as the police helicopter landed in the road, after hovering for several minutes in the air, bringing afternoon traffic to a standstill.

Following media enquiries regarding the use of the police helicopter to transport the provincial commissioner, the police said in a statement that the commissioner “would continue utilising resources such as helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, nyalas and other high-powered vehicles throughout the Safer Festive Season Easter Operations and beyond”.

The provincial spokesperson for the SAPS, Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba, responded to media enquiries regarding the costs involved in using the police helicopter to transport Shivuri during yesterday’s launch, that the latter “had made it very clear that the police budget was allocated accordingly to deal with various forms of criminality and therefore the lives and security of the people of the Northern Cape cannot be compromised”.

“The provincial commissioner also warned that people should desist from interfering with police operational matters, like who is getting in the police helicopter,” said Ramatseba.

He added that Shivuri was very concerned about people questioning why resources were utilised to fight crime in the Northern Cape. “Many provinces have launched their safer festive season operations successfully without being asked why they are utilising certain resources,” he stated.

“The provincial commissioner has been appointed in terms of Section 207 of the Constitution, which places the responsibility of the provincial commissioner to police the Province. The commissioner is also mandated by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa – which stipulates that we are responsible for preventing, combating and investigating crime and upholding and enforcing the law,” Ramatseba added.

“The provincial commissioner is utilising all human and physical resources as part of dealing with crime in the Northern Cape.”

Ramatseba added further that as part of yesterday’s Safer Festive Season Operations, 134 suspects were arrested for various offences and more arrests are expected.

“The police will utilise every available resource to ensure that the people of the Northern Cape are safe and we are as such not apologising to anyone in this regard.”

In 2016, a Sunday newspaper accused the Province’s top cop of using the only police helicopter in the Northern Cape to pick up a jacket he apparently forgot at the Gariep Dam, 30 kilometres away, during the ANC’s elective conference in Colesberg.

The report also alleged that Shivuri used the helicopter to travel to a fast food outlet about four kilometres away.

The SAPS in the Province refuted the reports, with Ramatseba categorically denying at the time that Shivuri used the helicopter to fetch his jacket, adding that the helicopter had only been used as air support for crime prevention operations.

“Like any other operation, various resources, including the helicopter, were used to ensure that the objectives of the operation were reached as directed by situational threats,” Ramatseba said.

“The helicopter is mainly used in crime prevention operations and, in this case, it was not different as the provincial commissioner was assigned to it in order to reach various places on time and it also gave an advantage to patrolling the area at large.

“Shivuri is a seasoned police officer who worked operations his entire career. He understands the police prescripts governing operations and he has been carrying them out all these years.

“We wish to point out that the helicopter was never used to collect the provincial commissioner’s jacket, as the commissioner was wearing his uniform, and the helicopter was also never used by the provincial commissioner to have lunch.”

The DA in the Northern Cape said at the time that the alleged flights would have amounted to a cost of R6 000 and R1 500 respectively to the taxpayer, while further rendering the helicopter out of commission for official police business.

No stranger to controversy, Shivuri made the headlines again in September this year when he was robbed of his firearm, which the police denied was as a result of negligence.

Ramatseba explained at the time that Shivuri had taken his car to an informal car wash on September 8 near the public library, in the vicinity of the Kim Park shopping centre, at around 3.15pm.

“The suspect in the case is the person who washes the cars. He grabbed a man bag (containing the firearm) from the provincial commissioner while he was seated in the driver’s seat collecting his items as he was going to disembark from his vehicle.”

Ramatseba indicated that Shivuri was in possession of his police-issued firearm at the time of the incident.

“Regarding the report that the firearm was left unattended, it is false as the firearm was in the possession of the provincial commissioner at the time of the incident. All reported stolen items were inside the man bag as the lieutenant-general was preparing to get out of his vehicle.”

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