The odd sight of a bloodied self-confessed car-jacker, perched on his knees below lit South African Police Service (SAPS) signage on a dark city side walk, concluded participation in a combating operation involving a squad of ever committed crime fighters in Polokwane on Friday night.
The involvement in the operation by the Police’s air wing lent a facet of heightened night-time visibility when the combined force of SAPS members and a crew from prominent private security concern Mighty Tactical Reaction Service (TRS) hit on hotspots across the city and immediate surrounds.
Led by Polokwane Visible Police Commander André Kotze, the night operation that followed foot patrols in the city during the day yielded the arrest of a suspect for alleged possession of a dangerous weapon.
At first the squad set out for the parking lot of a shopping hub in Penina Park where they clamped down on public drinking, before passing through the car park of a busy retail complex in Flora Park and moving on to a notorious open-air drinking spot in Dalmada.
Subsequently it was back to the city for a downtown turn past Dahl, Market and President Kruger streets, where the presence was reportedly appreciated by shoppers and commuters who gawked from busy taxi stands and buzzing sidewalks or poured from retail outlets and taverns to witness feverish spot searches for illegal elements.
After Nirvana the park opposite Tom Naudé Technical High School, which proves to be a popular after-hour hangout for social circles and couples alike, was second last on the list of priorities before the contingent took a drive through the parking space of a popular restaurant in Bendor. Shortly after Kotze wrapped up the nightly operation with a summary of successes and, in his customary manner, commended the all-male component for their efforts.
Upon their return to Polokwane Police Station crime combatants were accosted by the scene of an injured man who reportedly inflicted injury unto himself after allegedly stealing a vehicle at an identified location in the city. Onlookers claimed that he apparently had attempted to report the matter to the community service centre at the station earlier on but was turned away. No amount of convincing from Mighty TRS Director Shabier Valjie or a handful of Police members who just got back from the operation, though, could move the man to abandon the wait for the arrival of his mother and board any of the two ambulances that responded to Valjie’s emergency call.
During the course of the operation no shot got fired and no casualty reported, but most evident from the recollections of the happenings of the evening was the perfect synergy that existed between a band of men who worked side by side in the tireless battle to claim back a crime-ridden city and repeatedly put their lives at risk in the execution of their duties or backup to the Police.
Story/photos: YOLANDE NEL