Some residents in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria have raised concerns regarding police visibility in the area. The area is among Gauteng’s townships with high crime rates. Provincial Police Commissioner, General Elias Mawela, led the ‘O kae Molao’ operation this morning in Mamelodi East as part of ongoing efforts to combat crime in the province.

Mamelodi is one of Gauteng’s crime hotspots. The township’s Mamelodi East police station featured in the top 30 stations for contact crimes in the last quarter’s crime statistics. Carjacking, house and business robbery have been steadily increasing. The high hijacking rate has been attributed to the N4 running past the area. Gangsterism is also on the rise, leading to the establishment of a task team to monitor and investigate the activities of Boko Haram, a gang that’s been terrorising local businesses and the community.

Gauteng Provincial Commissioner, General Elias Mawela, “We have targeted Mamelodi because Mamelodi has its challenges – amongst the others is the hijacking and the social ills of Mamelodi, abuse of liquor and emerging priorities. Threats like gangsterism in the schools, so we came here to assert the authority of the state and also to say to the Mamelodi community, that we are aware of what is happening here, we came to maintain law and order.”

Mawela says assault cases that are difficult for police to control have also spiked in the province.

“When you look at the number of assault cases, we are generating here in the province, it’s the biggest number.  From the assault, it may start with common assault, it will graduate to assault GBH, it will end up being attempted murder then murder. So if the people of Gauteng can stop being violent amongst themselves, stop assaulting each other- surely these murder incidents that are happening here will drastically calm down.”

But some residents are not convinced that police are doing enough to fight crime. They’ve criticised the once-off operations.

“It’s not working, it takes time to be done and crime is almost every week,” says one resident.

“ It’s surprising because crime is still up, even the selling of drugs, the carrying of firearms, its continuing – so they need to have extra policing without cars, just going around, checking every corner”, says another.

More than 830 were arrested for various crimes during the ‘O kae Molao’ operation

Operation ‘O kae molao’ in Mamelodi