Police minister engages with Tembisa community about crime
Police Minister Bheki Cele engaged with members of the Madelakufa informal settlement in Tembisa, near Johannesburg on Thursday to find out what kind of impact crime has had on them.
He was joined by National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole and Ekurhuleni Mayor Mzwandile Masina during a walkabout at the settlement.
And residents did not miss the opportunity to voice their concerns.
"We need the mayor along with the councillor, which we never see at all. We have nothing in Madelakufa. We live in a very dangerous place and our lives are in danger," a community member said.
The police recently launched Operation Buya Mthetho across the country. Cele said through this operation, more than 80 people had been arrested.
"Our operation in Tembisa has heeded positive results. We started operating 36 hours back and 84 suspects have arrested since [then]. This includes four top suspects," he said.
Cele said drugs amounting to millions of rands had also been confiscated during the operation.
The police minister urged communities to not protect and hide those affiliated to crime, because they would also be arrested.
"We have instructed the police that when they find money, guns or a criminal suspect in [their] house[s], they must arrest everyone in the house," he said.
"Stabilisation operations were also designed to address issues of gangsterism, political violence, cross border [crimes] and other crimes," Cele added.
Cele said the operation would also focus more on the protection of women and children against abuse.
"We are working hard on the abuse of children and women and now that tops our operations. We want to create a situation where a woman can walk in the middle of the night freely from wherever she comes from to wherever she is going, without [the] fear of being raped or assaulted," Cele said.
He reiterated a statement he made in July that cash-in-transit robberies had reduced significantly by 63% from June, compared to May.
The minister added that 42 people were in custody after they were arrested in connection with cash-in-transit heists from June 4.
These included alleged heist kingpin Wellington Cenenda.
Cenenda, who was arrested in North West, has allegedly been linked to 23 heists involving R46m, Cele said.
"The number of those arrested for cash-in-transit heists is 42. This is because we arrest, we charge and release, but majority of the 42 are in custody and only a few of them are out on bail," police spokesperson Vish Naidoo told News24.
Cele said police had also seized 59 firearms and retrieved 54 SUV vehicles.
He said that most of the explosives that had been seized originated from neighbouring countries, such as Mozambique.