South Africa: Bethelsdorp Residents Tell Police Station Commander His Cops Work With Gangs

20 November 2019

Station commander says he knows of the policemen who are friends with gangsters and are dealing in drugs and tik

More than 100 residents in KwaNoxolo township lambasted Bethelsdorp police station cops at a public meeting at George Botha Community Hall on Tuesday morning.

The meeting was attended by SAPS, the local community policing forum, metro police and ward councillor Eddie Harker.

Many residents did not mince their words. Nontombi Kape said, "Bethelsdorp police station is full of corrupt cops who hand out guns to the gangs. We open the cases against the gangs and they don't progress because of these corrupt police ... You report crime to them and they sell you out to the gangs. And that is what makes us to be reluctant to work with you [police]."

Bulelani Bani said, "These public meetings are fruitless. We call them every year but they don't yield any good results. Instead, crime escalates ... Thieves broke into my house three times. In one of the incidents, I stopped a police van in the middle of the night to help me. But cops failed to help me to find my stolen goods.

"I had to take my hammer and hunt down the thieves with the assistance of my family. Then we recovered my goods. So what's the point of having a mobile police station if the police don't do their job properly?" he asked, to applause from the people in the hall.

Didina Ngxangxeni said empty RDP houses were being used by thugs. "Gangs smoke drugs there and plan their criminal activities. Bethelsdorp and KwaDwesi police station are too far, hence we call for a mobile police station."

"Even if we call the police they take too long or not arrive at all. We need our own police station because we have had enough of these gang shootings," he said.

Bethelsdorp police station commander Brigadier Zolani Xawuka said, "I know those policemen who live here that are friends with gangsters and are dealing in drugs and tik. And we will deal with them.

"As police we are just minimising crime and gangs. But if we can work together with the residents, we can stop this crime and not fight it.

"We will bring two policemen here as an interim solution, maybe at the councillor's office or here at the hall for two hours to help the community with affidavits and other important documents."

"Please don't stand in our way. We will shut down all the illegal taverns and shebeens. We will make this place a safer place because we have heard your complaints ... We will establish sector crime forums who will do the patrols in the area.

"From April to October this year we have managed to successfully secure five life sentences for five gangsters from Bethelsdorp area. This shows if we can work together, we can do more.

"I will leave my number so that you can report these gangs to someone you trust. Calling the police station or 10111 sometimes does not help. But if you know a police member you trust, it easy to report the crime and you will know who sold you out to the gangs," said the brigadier.

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