Cops ready to tackle crime

Cops ready to tackle crime

Police were ready to tackle crime this festive season with renewed vigour and morale that had improved since the appointment of acting national police commissioner Khomotso Phahlane.


Newly appointed national head of the Hawks, Maj-Gen Berning Ntlemeza, who was speaking at a press conference in Durban to launch the police’s festive season programme to combat crime, said: “Morale of the police is very high, especially after the appointment of the acting National Commissioner, because what we did as management, we went around meeting all the top managers of the provinces. We encouraged them and motivated them that we need to move on.”

Pahlane had been due to address the media in Durban, but instead it was Ntlemeza, the KwaZulu-Natal provincial commissioner Lt-Gen Betty Mmamonnye Ngobeni and deputy commissioner Lt-Gen Monang Mgwenya.

Ntlemeza said that Operation Fiela would over the festive season see all arms of the police deployed to combat crime. Units from the South African National Defence Force would not be called upon to participate in Operation Fiela, as they did when the operation was launched at the height of the xenophobic violence in April.

Questioned about the morale, Ntlemeza said that he did not believe that morale was an issue within the police force. Asked specifically whether he was saying that morale had improved specifically since the October 14 suspension of national police commissioner Riah Phiyega, Ntlemeza said: “I won’t say it is up just because this and that happened. We as management, see the morale is now going up.”

Ngobeni urged members of the public to assist the police in combating crime and in particular urged members to come forward in reporting crime.

Asked about the ongoing problems at Durban’s Glebelands Hostels in Umlazi that has seen more than 50 people gunned down since March last year, Ngobeni said police were addressing the issues.

She said that police were endeavouring to work with non-governmental agencies as well as activists to solve the problems.

Ngobeni rejected recent calls for the army to be deployed to the hostels, saying that the mandate rested with the police to fight crime in conjunction with other government departments.

“We have those who actually know who is doing crime and criminality, but nobody is prepared to come forward.”

She said that police could not simply arrest people and that fear played a big role in people coming forward.

Asked about allegations that police officers from Durban were involved in the killings, Ngobeni said that she was aware of the allegations and that because it was “a covert related matter” she could not comment further on the issue.

Ntlemeza also said that he had put forward the proposal to those reviewing the Fire Controls Act that those found to be illegally in possession of a gun should be handed life sentences.

“I made a proposal. My proposal is a formal one. If you got a small firearm [illegally] it must be a life sentence and if it is an [illegal] AK47, it must be double or triple. So I proposed. The people of this country must support me because if we can finish this issue of [illegal] firearms, definitely, there will be no killing of people in this country.”

Ntlemeza said that while he conceded that R5 rifles were being used in crime, police had tightened up on the control of R5 rifles.

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