Residents of Umlazi in the South of Durban have asked Police Minister Bheki Cele to increase the number of police stations in the area.
Deputy Minister of Police, Cassel Mathale, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Sipho Hlomuka, and eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda met with members of the community to find solutions to crime in the area.
The latest crime statistics released in June show that in KwaZulu-Natal the highest number of murders were reported at the police stations in Umlazi, Inanda, and Plessislaer.
Between January and March this year 103 murders were reported in Umlazi, which is a 68% increase compared to the same period last year. Umlazi residents have asked Police Minister Bheki Cele to increase the number of police stations in the area.
The township has over 1-million residents and is the second largest in the country after Soweto. Community members say there are only two police stations in the whole of Umlazi.
They say some residents cannot afford to go to the police stations as there’s no direct transport. Other residents have complained about the increasing number of scrap yards in the community, saying these are the cause of increased theft. Some community members have made these suggestions to the Police ministry.
“We’re all here with the same problem and that is the rate of crime. We would like to ask Minister Bheki Cele to increase the number of police stations that is the only solution that we can see if we can have more than ten police stations,” said one member of the community.
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Another member of the community added that, “Can we request that you hire police officers that are not from area. Because now a person is unable to arrest their friend’s child and the person they grew up with even when they are arrested, they are released that’s why you find that people are taking the law into their own hands.”
Community Policing Forum chairperson Mandlenkosi Ngcobo says they are concerned with the high number of murders being committed in the township. He believes most of the murders are drug related.
Ngcobo says, “It’s the murders everyday some of the roads Vusi Mtshali Road there has been more than three murders each week. We’ve got other areas from uMlazi outside the hostel, and we got another one ward 89, T section. all these places have got serious crime. From Vusi Mtshali if you talk about now, we’ve got two neighbors that were shot this week.”
Provincial police commissioner Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi says they will look at how each police station is managed to improve performance.
Mkhwanazi further added that, “It is our plan that as we try to fight crime, we focus on every station, so station management is key to every performance. Ibhekithemba, Isphingo, uMlazi they’re amongst the stations that we’re paying attention on. In addition, we are reviewing the organisational structure of eThekwini district. It was a decision taken that we must reconfigure from clusters to district so we’ve decided that we are going to divide them again we will engage with the National commissioner that we will have sub district maybe about three of them we divide them so that we can be able to have each sub district with its resources.”
Meanwhile, Cele has praised the Umlazi community, saying they are working closely to fight crime. Cele says crime is a societal issue.
“In the normal society we will be calling for the building of university and colleges. Not building of prisons and police stations which means our society is not normal and we need to fix it. Therefore, crime is a societal matter that society acts together and deal with the issues,” said Cele.
Cele further added that the shortage of police officers and resources is a national problem. He called on communities to root out the criminals amongst them.
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