Despite Police efforts to curb crime being incessantly criticised, compelling statistics of Operation Swara Tsotsi revealed the contrary when, during a briefing in the city on Tuesday, it was brought to the attention of the media that in just over 30 days nearly 3 000 suspects in only two districts of the province had been arrested.
A total of 2 937 suspects had been arrested in Capricorn and Vhembe districts since 28 June. On the day it was launched in Polokwane a total of 309 suspects were arrested within three hours while its launch in Thohoyandou about a month later saw 164 suspects being apprehended in one day.
Revealing the statistics Transport and Community Safety MEC Dickson Masemola indicated that Operation Swara Tsotsi focusses on various crimes as well as intensified alcohol enforcement throughout the province.
He revealed that the arrested suspects are aged between 20 and 62 years and were arrested on charges varying from murder, rape, hijacking, business and house robbery to possession of drugs, public drinking, escaping from lawful custody to contravention of the Migration Act.
By conducting roadblocks, stop and search operations, visiting businesses and tracing wanted suspects Police not only made successful arrests but also confiscated 246 firearms, 31 dangerous weapons, four vehicles, three plasma televisions, 16 boxes of crystal meth and various other drugs, 41 knives, cell phones, balaclavas, counterfeit cigarettes and housebreaking tools. A total of 62 liquor outlets found to be trading illegally were closed.
Addressing the issue of liquor Masemola stressed that driving under the influence of alcohol was amongst the leading contributors to carnages on Limpopo roads, especially over weekends and therefore part of the reason why designated operations were conducted specifically for this offence.
Statistics revealed by Masemola indicated that from April to June a total of 444 drivers were arrested for drunken driving. Vhembe had the highest number (216) followed by Mopani with 134.
“The stats show a concentrated level of such offences in Vhembe and Mopani and we shall be intensifying our action as thus. I have had discussions with my counterpart at the Department of Health with the aim of collaborating in roadblocks under Operation Ndadzi which I intend to strengthen and add more impetus to ensuring safety on our roads,” Masemola said.
He emphasised that Operation Swara Tsotsi will continue to be conducted across all districts of the province.
Provincial Police Commissioner Nneke Ledwaba as well as Masemola approved of the operation’s effectiveness and said that plans to clamp down on hotspot areas are already in place.
Story/photo: RC Myburgh