Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Officially appointed as the Station Commander on 22 January 2021, the highly respected Lt Col Neethling is committed to combating crime throughout the area while ensuring the SAPS establish an authentic relationship of trust and mutual respect with the public.
“I am a jovial person, a real people’s person, and I care about the community. My vision is to improve service delivery and start improving the community’s picture, giving immediate attention to all problems at hand. Even if that means working after hours,” states Lt Col Gerhardt Neethling.
One of the most prominent obstacles Osizweni residents have faced over the past year is that of child-gangs wreaking havoc. The Newcastillian – Online News initially broke the story on 29 September 2020, explaining how gangs such as the Last Warning and Peace Makers were subjecting residents to extreme levels of violence. Delving into the topic, he highlights following meetings with the community, the police minister Bheki Cele, district officers, and other government officials; gangsterism has subsided completely.
In addition, he explains the re-opening of schools has also assisted in fighting gang activity. “With schools now open, the children are being kept busy.”
But this does not mean the police have stopped keeping a watchful eye on the matter. Lt Col Gerhardt Neethling emphasises, the SAPS is continuing with its crime prevention strategies, working alongside Community Policing Forums (CPF) to ensure peace is maintained.
As for the allegations of police involvement in the gangs, Lt Col Neethling says he is fully aware of these rumours and takes the matter seriously. So much so, the subject is being addressed, and investigations are underway to get to the root of the problem.
Looking at the overall crime rate in Osizweni, he expounds, there has been a positive decline in lawbreaking. “Contact crime, which includes murder, assault and robberies, has dropped substantially.”
Contributing factors to this, he highlights, is due to the visibility of police officials in the community, lockdown restrictions and the curfew, as well as the end of the festive period.
However, he points out that indoor crimes such as Gender-Based Violence (GBV) are still an issue. Lt Col Neethling explains that Osizweni is currently one of the top 30 stations where GBV is a problem.
Tackling this challenge, he elucidates that the Osizweni SAPS is enforcing the KZN Liquor Act and ensuring liquor outlets follow the law to help minimise this crime from escalating. Mainly due to the fact that alcohol contributes to this heinous act. Looking to the future, Lt Col Neethling stresses that he and his colleagues are going full steam ahead, taking crime seriously. “I am really doing my best. I have found, at times, it is not what you do, but rather how you do it.” With this in mind, he emphasises that through his career as a police officer and forming a close relationship with community members; he truly has the public’s best interests at heart.
The Station Commander concludes by sharing a message with the Osizweni community and other Newcastillians, “Don’t be scared of being a victim of crime. Come to us and report all crime; we will treat all information with confidentiality. Once we can start removing criminals from the community, we can deal with crime.”
Well done to Lt Col Neethling and his team; we look forward to reporting on your success over the ensuing months and years. What are your thoughts on the matter?
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