Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
During a media briefing on Tuesday morning, 20 April 2021, members of SAPS Amajuba District discussed concerns and upcoming initiatives to combat crime.
Opening up, Brigadier Fred Alexander started the meeting by emphasising that while there were issues within the community, the police have enjoyed many successes. One of these included the police locating the suspect involved in the brutal murder of 11-year-old Owethu Mdlalose.
On 6 October 2020, The Newcastillian – Online News reported how Owethu had been stabbed multiple times. The police found her lifeless body in the bedroom of a house in Section 5, Madadeni. Following the tragic incident, the SAPS issued a statement urging the community to locate her killer.
According to Brigadier Alexander, the suspect was found in the Gauteng area after police received information on his whereabouts. He has subsequently been arrested and sentenced for the child’s murder.
Furthermore, speaking on the gang violence persistently troubling the Osizweni community, Brigadier Alexander assures the police take this seriously and is a priority. The most recent incident, as reported on, involved a 19-year-old man being hacked to death but a group of youngsters. While the victim was allegedly linked to the Last Warning gang, the Brigadier stresses, this incident cannot be solely identified as a gang-related crime. “It is a crime like any other crime, and one needs to look at where the incident emanates from.”
In this latest incident, he points out that alcohol might have played an instrumental role as the deceased and his friends had apparently gone to a tavern prior to the murder.
With seven suspects in police custody, Brigadier Alexander says this crime follows a long period of silence in gang activity, and police remain on high alert to ensure further acts of violence are minimised.
Speaking on progression, the Brigadier explains that while the district is stable, there are further operational plans to address crime, starting from this month right up until 2025. He highlights, “Through the community stabilisation programme, we need to reduce crime by 2% per annum.”
Additionally, Colonel Mhlongo of the District Operational Command Centre explained, plans are underway for the Amajuba District Women Law Enforcement teams to join forces with their female counterparts from other governmental departments for various operations, including roadblocks and awareness campaigns.
Regarding the roadblocks and crime-fighting campaigns, Colonel Mhlongo states, “We cannot reveal the dates and venues of these.” The reasoning behind this, she says, is to ensure the criminal element is caught unaware and does not have an opportunity to avoid escaping law enforcement.
As for the most prevalent crime in the Amajuba District, Brigadier Alexander says one needs to look at the last crime statistics to see that murder and attempted murder remains problematic.
There is also an increase in house robberies and housebreakings in the Amajuba District. But when looking at a more substantial police presence, the Brigadier explained that while the police could not be everywhere, personnel are being deployed to high concentration areas where these crimes are more prevalent. Admitting the police need to look into several matters, Brigadier Alexander enthused he would like to conduct foot patrols to monitor crime and establish issues of concern within the community.
What are your thoughts on the matter? Share your views in the comment section below.