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MEC launches safer festive season campaign

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The annual safer festive season campaign aims to tackle and prevent escalating crime during the year-end festivities.

MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nomandla Bloem. Pictures: Danie van der Lith

THE ANNUAL safer festive season campaign was launched in the Northern Cape on Tuesday to tackle and prevent escalating crime during the year-end festivities.

The MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison, Nomandla Bloem, stated that criminals took the opportunity during this time to rob people of their hard-earned belongings and money or hurt them.

“Criminals gear up in town centres and neighbourhoods to take advantage of the increased hustle and bustle, while families are preparing to celebrate,” said Bloem.

She said different law enforcement agencies and government departments would pool their energy, skills and resources to address crime over the festive season.

“Hot spots have been identified for criminal behaviour. Officials will be deployed during high-density operations to focus on stubborn, persistent crimes. Co-operation and community participation is imperative to tighten control over criminal behaviour.”

Bloem added that law enforcement would be carried out in strict compliance with the Covid-19 lockdown regulations.

“Patrols will be conducted where large gatherings are expected, such as festivals and events, as well as spontaneous gatherings, shebeens, taverns, clubs and street parties to clamp down on public drinking and illegal spinning and drifting.

“Crime prevention and safety operations will be jointly carried out with the Department of Home Affairs, provincial and municipal traffic, the Department of Social Development, Department of Justice, community police forums, the Department of Education, disaster management teams, emergency medical services, the Department of Correctional Services, the South Africa National Defence Force and Environmental Affairs.”

Bloem stated that attention would be paid to dealing with crimes against women and children in solidarity with the provincial 16 Days of Activism campaigns, as well as campaigns against substance abuse.

She highlighted the importance of reporting information about criminal activity to the police.

“May we have a festive season where we care enough about each other that we alert the authorities whenever we suspect anything wrong and not think we need to stay out of other people’s business.”

She pointed out that alcohol and drug abuse contributed to rising crime and levels of gender-based violence.

“Here we are not only referring to thefts and housebreaks but also the high numbers of road deaths due to driving under the influence of alcohol.

“We plead with our citizens to drink responsibly. Not only do we become a danger to ourselves and others on the roads but we are also prone to aggressive behaviour that can turn homes into battlefields.”

The acting provincial commissioner, Major-General Phiwe Mnguni, said operations would continue until the end of January 2021.

“The scourge of gender-based violence has seen women and children suffering at the hands of men – who are supposed to be their protectors.”

An integrated stop-and-search roadblock was held on the N12 road weigh bridge, where promotional material and pamphlets on safety tips were handed out to motorists.