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Cops accused of incompetence

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“It is worrying when residents or community members fall prey to crimes but they do not report it to the relevant authorities, in this instance the South African Police Service”

ON PATROL: Members of the SAPS during a mass patrol in the CBD yesterday. Picture: SAPS

THE NORTHERN Cape Police Management (NCPM) has reacted with concern to allegations made on social media regarding “police incompetence”.

“It is worrying when residents or community members fall prey to crimes but they do not report it to the relevant authorities, in this instance the South African Police Service,” police spokesperson Captain Olebogeng Tawana said yesterday.

A city resident said on social media that he had fallen victim to crimes, “some quite serious”, on numerous occasions, as well as witnessed various crimes.

“A few weeks ago, while drawing money from an ATM in Beaconsfield, I witnessed a man, literally feet away from me, break a bottle and stab another man in the neck and arm with the broken bottle neck. This happened on a very busy Saturday morning at 10am. I decided to assist, but after 15 minutes of phone calls and searching for any sign of an authoritarian vehicle, I drove as far as to the CBD, I gave up, my efforts were in vain and continued on,” the resident said.

He added that he had tried to report the incident to the police, but the operator did not know where Main Road in Beaconsfield was.

A few weeks earlier, the man stated that, while waiting at a traffic light, he witnessed two men smash the window of a stationary vehicle and steal what he presumed was a cellphone.

“Having witnessed this, and having seen the visibly and understandably hysterical aged lady in her vehicle, I decided to pursue the two men, hoping to flag down any assistance, should I find any.

“After approximately 15 minutes, with yet again no visible authorities, I decided to exit my vehicle and approach the two gentlemen (myself being 6 foot and over 90 kilograms, I was less than friendly and understandably intimidating in my approach).

“On approaching the two gentlemen, one of them drew a knife and muttered to his accomplice ‘kom ons steek hom’ (let’s stab him). Being of sound and sensible mind, I decided to return to my vehicle, as my life is not worth the cost of a cellular telephone. This all happened at 5pm on a traffic-jammed Monday evening.”

Tawana urged members of the public who were victims of crime, or who witnessed it, to register or lay a complaint at their nearest police station.

“Once a complaint has been registered, police can then investigate the alleged crime,” Tuwana said.

The person on social media also mentioned that earlier this week while on his way to a city business, he witnessed what he perceived to be a drug deal.

“I have grown up incredibly street smart, so I do have a more than fair idea of what illegal activities look like, and the profile of perpetrators associated with these activities. I, once again, took the initiative in finding a uniformed or authoritarian person/vehicle, to inform the authorities of what I had witnessed.

“After turning into Phakamile Mabija Road and proceeding towards the police station, I witnessed a motor vehicle accident, involving a police vehicle. There must have been no less than five uniformed police officers, standing by the side of the road, playing audience to the traffic accident.”

The poster said he was so enraged by the lack of police visibility that he gave up his efforts.

“When turning into the street behind a city business, I noticed a police van parked metres away from the suspicious drug deal. I then approached the vehicle. Inside the vehicle were two uniformed and armed police officers waiting for their colleague who was inside the store.

“I informed the two officers inside the vehicle that I had just witnessed what appeared to be a drug deal, literally metres away from the parked police van.

“I asked if they would be able to be of assistance in investigating the incident. The two officers replied, ‘Oooohh … OK … we are just waiting for our colleague inside, then we will go’.”

The poster said he then approached the colleague inside the store and she informed him that she would investigate once she was done with her shopping.

“I went as far as to approach the colleague of the two officers, and inform her of what I had just seen, and to express my disapproval of what had just been said to me, in reply, by her two colleagues waiting outside.

“Our police force has failed us and I, for one, applaud groups such as Wanya Tsotsi for their sterling effort in striking fear and terror into the hearts and minds of criminals within our community.”

The poster called on Kimberley residents to share his post.

“By doing this we are able to inform our fellow residents of the failures within the police service and to take it upon ourselves to be vigilant and report suspicious activities to private security community forums. It has become very clear that the police don’t take our safety and that of the community seriously.”

Tuwana said that the SAPS had a mandate, in terms of Section 205 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, to prevent, combat and investigate crime, maintain public order, to protect and secure the inhabitants of the Republic and their properties, and to uphold and enforce the law.

Tuwana said the NCPM condemned the misuse of state resources in regards to the vehicle parked outside the business. “Any suspected misuse should be reported to police management for investigation and if resources were misused, appropriate steps will be taken.”

Tuwana added that police visibility was evident in the Kimberley CBD. “Crime Intelligence conducts observations on the hot spots. We also have a fully-equipped police mobile trailer. The public can make use of these units to obtain affidavits, get certifications, open cases and report crime.”

Tuwana urged residents to report crime or criminal activities to the crime stop line 08600 10 111.

He added that if residents wanted to communicate any matter regarding policing in Kimberley, they should contact Colonel Belinda Rikhotso, the Kimberley station commander, on 082 4690 696.