A lack of Police resources, adequate training to Community Policing Forum (CPF) members and allegations of Police in cahoots with drug dealers are some of the contributing factors to a worrisome situation prevailing in Seshego where community members are seen to be risking their lives to fight crime in the area.
These issues were raised by another of a series of community safety meetings steered by Transport and Community Safety MEC Dickson Masemola conducted in Seshego on Tuesday evening. He was joined by Seshego Cluster Commander Sam Mokganyana and Station Commander Lucas Tlhako.
During the meeting it became evident that residents are fed-up with crime to such an extent that one resident single-handedly approached and accosted shop owners in Zone 1 who are reportedly selling drugs to youngsters and other community members in the past. This after numerous calls about the situation was either ignored by Police or their response time was so slow that suspects have more than enough time to rid evidence. It was also alleged that Police are working with drug dealers by tipping them off before a raid or operation.
Residents also expressed their concerns on CPF structures in the cluster. Community members emphasised the lack of resources, support and training. They also requested some sort of uniform and reflector jackets in order to be easily identified as it was reported that some so-called CPF members are doing more harm than good in the area. Residents also raised their concern about the election processes of CPFs in different areas.
They requested Masemola to look into the recruitment process of the Police employing CPF members.
A female resident of Ward 12 indicated that there is no CPF in her area which resulted in an increase in the number of housebreakings. She has been a victim of crime twice and in both cases Police officers took her statement but she never heard anything about the cases again.
Supporting her opinion on the dragging of cases community members raised their concerns on the slow processing of cases. They alleged that residents are left in the dark on the progress of cases being reported. They also described the justice system as a game since residents have noticed that suspects, especially drug dealers, are released back on to the streets within days after they have been arrested.
Unlicensed liquor outlets or those who do not adhere to their licence’s terms and conditions are just as worrying as drug-related crime in the area. A woman expressed her dismay about noise pollution from taverns until late night and even early mornings during the week as it has a huge influence on learners having to study for the final exams.
Stock theft also came under the spotlight, especially in the Matlala area. A resident indicated that stock thieves have been seen moving around with branding tools. The moment they steal stock they brand it and then there is no way to prove the contrary.
Community members also complained about insufficient transport especially from Moletji and Matlala and pleaded with Masemola to review the transport structure.
Before Masemola addressed the crowd they also pleased for a satellite station at Blood River.
Masemola urged community members to continue providing valuable information to the Police and that all concerns were taken note of and will be addressed soonest.
Story/photos: RC Myburgh