With schools and tertiary institutions closed; with industries about to go on break; and a lot of people going on vacation this coming long weekend, phase 3 of the Gauteng's Safer Festive Season Operational Plan is about to kick in and will be characterised by intensified operations and heightened visibility near places known to be popular converging spots; as well as on the roads.
Wrapping up the second phase of the Safer Festive Season Operational Plan on Thursday 12 December 2019, Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko and Merafong Executive Mayor, Councillor (Mrs) Matsie joined the Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela, leading the O Kae Molao operations conducted in Carletonville in the West Rand District.
A total of 675 suspects were arrested across the Province during different activations of Operation O Kae Molao.
Six hundred and sixteen (616) wanted suspects were arrested across all Districts, with one rape suspect arrested in Etwatwa, Ekurhuleni and swiftly linked to 28 other rape cases. Most of these suspects were wanted for various serious and violent crimes such as rape, murder, assault with intention to cause grievous bodily harm, business robbery, and various other crimes.
Other focus areas were roadblocks which will become more frequent to address the problem of road fatalities that tend to rise over this period. Four (4) vehicles were impounded at different roadblocks on suspicion of being stolen as some had engines tampered with. A suspect was arrested for possession of dagga and twelve (12) undocumented foreign nationals taken in for verification of their status in the country.
Forty two (42) more undocumented foreign nationals were taken in during other crime prevention operations, while two suspects were arrested for possession of suspected stolen property, and two others for possession of counterfeit goods.
Two persons were issued with fines for dealing with liquor without license as a number of inspections were conducted at illegal liquor outlets. Five outlets were shut down, with liquor and equipment seized in parallel operations in the Johannesburg and Tshwane Districts.
Still in operations focusing on counterfeit and second hand goods in Merafong, four traders were issued with fines for non-compliance with the Second Hand Goods Act, while four were slapped with fines relating to the Tobacco Control Act, as well as another fine issued in relation to unlawful dealing in fireworks. Illicit snuff, hair and beauty products, cigarettes, liquor, and SIM cards were also seized in the presence of brand owner representatives.
As operations continued, police seized a number of bags containing water meters. Police also found abandoned property that includes dagga plants, PRASA and Eskom cables, gas bottles, and gold bearing material. With police in the West Rand addressing illegal mining, some of the equipment was seized on suspicion of being utilised during illegal mining.
The West Rand is vast and largely rural; while Carletonville and Khutsong are amongst those areas that have experienced a number of house robberies, and stock theft, demanding a focused approach in addressing stock theft especially over the festive season. Adopting and applying the SAPS rural safety strategy, police seized livestock including 30 stolen sheep and three goats (boerbokke), animal hide and carcasses, mandrax pills, dagga, and cellphones. The 30 sheep have since been confirmed as the flock that was reported stolen in Fochville on Sunday 08 December 2019.
Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Elias Mawela thanked all teams present, including the Green Scorpions, Provincial and Local Traffic, Customs, Community Patrollers.
"The successes we attain with each operation means that we are gradually removing notorious and repeat offenders from the streets of Gauteng. More importantly, these successes will also take us a long way in our strife to restore public confidence in the police, by ensuring that residents of Gauteng are and feel safe and secure," said the Provincial Commissioner, encouraging the teams to maintain the momentum as the holiday period dawns.
Police will as of Friday, 13 December 2019, intensify operations, focusing on commuter safety, increase visibility in residential areas to minimise the opportunity for burglaries, increase visibility at shopping malls and near places of recreation.
While police will be out and about in the Province, the public is still encouraged to, as far as possible take safety precautions and be vigilant all the time.