Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale, has urged swift SAPS intervention in the crime situation and an impasse between the police and the Jouberton community near Klerksdorp, in the North West.
Mathale made the call on Sunday during a community crime prevention imbizo at Matlosana Stadium in Jouberton.
The imbizo was prompted by the torching of 12 houses since February and damage to vehicles in the area. The attacks are alleged to be gang-related.
In a statement, the SAPS said the imbizo created a platform for robust deliberations between provincial and local government, the police and community.
“The community gave a first-hand account of how crimes such as gangsterism, gender-based violence and femicide, domestic violence, proliferation of liquor, taxi violence as well as other prevalent contact crimes are affecting their daily lives and well-being,” reads the statement.
The Deputy National Commissioner of Policing, Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola, as well as SAPS provincial management led by Lieutenant General Sello Kwena accompanied the Deputy Minister.
SAPS spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said during the engagement, community members aired their frustrations regarding the prevalence of criminality as well as lack of job opportunities in the area.
“Community Policing Forum local representatives on the other hand appealed to the dignitaries to support their vision of hosting a seminar to address gangsterism and crime in general in the near future which they envisage will provide sustainable solutions to crime.
“To this end, the management has pledged its support to ensure that the seminar becomes a reality,” she said.
Lieutenant General Kwena told the community he had recently established two task teams that specialize in gangsterism and the proliferation of drugs to stabilise the precinct. The intention was to establish a fully-fledged Anti-Gang Unit in the North West, supported by the office of the Deputy National Commissioner: Policing.
A community member – who is also a rape survivor – spoke openly about her and other vulnerable GBVF victims’ ordeals, and requested the Deputy Ministry of Police to promise them that action will be taken against this scourge.
Mathale in the meeting acknowledged a clarion call from the community about the safety of police officers in Jouberton, saying if the police members did not have to constantly worry about their own safety, they would be able to fully commit to ensuring community safety.
The Deputy Minister urged the community to work together with the police to fight crime in the community.
“The solutions for the problems you have, are within you. We have heard your concerns and we are here to work together with you to fight crime in Jouberton.”
To the police officers, he warned that those who wear the blue uniform and “think that they can do as they please”, will soon change into an orange uniform.
Mathale has directed Masemola to work with the Provincial Commissioner to resolve pending cases that were raised by the community as well as schedule a feedback meeting with the community.