11 December 2012

South Africa: Travelling Far to Report Crime Is 'Unacceptable'

Pretoria — It is unacceptable for South Africans to have to walk long distances to report criminal activity in their respective areas, says Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu.

Speaking at the official opening of the Zamdela Police Station in Sasolburg in the Free State on Tuesday, Sotyu said it was equally unacceptable that in cases where they do reach these police stations, they then discover that the station's resources are unacceptable and inhumane.

"I will make a categorical statement that no longer will we allow this community to walk long distances to lodge a complaint or report any criminal activity," she told community members and officials gathered at the event.

One of the fundamental goals of the current administration was to improve safety in communities by building police stations in areas which were neglected in the past.

"We are not just building police stations; we are building well-resourced police stations that can serve our communities," said the deputy minister.

Sotyu said at the beginning of the year, the department had dubbed 2012 the Year of the Detectives with a particular focus on improving their all-round service delivery programmes.

"We tasked the management of police to place the building of police stations on their agenda because that is precisely what society requires. The very existence of the police station structure itself is a deterrent to crime.

"To this end, the police management is currently implementing their strategic and operational plan which will give impetus in achieving the goal of building of police stations," she said.

The deputy minister emphasized that the police station belonged to the community of Zamdela and was not the property of the Minister of Police, the Deputy Minister or the National Commissioner of Police. "What this means is that as a community, you must play an active role within the policing structures, supporting and motivating the station commander and the whole team," she said.

Sotyu said government was hopeful that the opening of the police station would contribute towards the conviction of wrongdoers and at the same time give the local community hope and security in their homes, workplaces and in their recreational areas.

She said police were aware that there was a drug in Zamdela known as 'khatu'.

"We hold a view that for as long as the streets of Zamdela are infested with drug lords, police must not rest, parents must not rest, and communities must not rest. Let us declare a war on drugs. Let the opening of the Zamdela Police Station become an additional and useful arsenal in the fight against drug and substance abuse in this area."

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