More boots on the ground in KZN crime hotspots: Cele

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Police Minister Bheki Cele says hotspots in KwaZulu-Natal will be given special attention in efforts to curb the increasing crime levels in these areas.

Police visibility through saturation patrols is one of the measures police will take. The latest crime statistics released on Friday show that the townships of Inanda, Umlazi and Plessislaer in Pietermaritzburg again recorded the highest reported case in serious crimes such as rapes and murders. Cele was speaking at the official launch of Operation Shanela in Durban.

Durban’s notorious townships are the country’s deadliest areas. The three recorded 195 murders of 6228 nationally in just three months between April and June this year. Cele says they need to be tough in uprooting crime in these areas.

“There are three areas that forever lead around here. It’s your Durban central, it’s forever tops. There are two stations that forever refuse to move away from the top five of criminality. Inanda has made it home when it comes to rape, you can’t have a station that is permanently number one when it comes to serious crime. Your Plessislaer in Pietermaritzburg is one area where it is giving us problem. This province when you go to statistics, it leads on the mass shootings,” says Cele.

Cele says one of the challenges was the shortage of police personnel. However, he says they are adding 10 000 more police each year, visibility will be increased.

“So, this question of saturation of moving police from A to B, it’s been part of the shortage. Once we deal with enough numbers, people will be there because police visibility is one big element of doing policing. We believe that when those places are cleaned of known criminals, normal policing will be part of that,” Cele added.

Authorities say Operation Shanela is a high density aggressive policing approach meant to deal and prevent criminality in hotspot areas.

“We focus on illegal firearms, drugs, hijacking of buildings which is common in this city, illegal and unregistered businesses, illegal immigrants those who visit forever. So, those who are in this country illegally take them back home. The contribution of eThekwini in the provincial crime is quite great. It is more than 50%,” says General Fannie Masemola, National Police Commissioner.

Meanwhile, in a roadblock in Durban’s Mariannhill Toll Plaza, Operation Shanela arrested scores of motorists with unlicensed firearms, drugs and illegal immigrants.

Police Minister Bheki Cele launches Operation Shanela in KZN: