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Pretoria - A police minibus used as a getaway vehicle, police demanding bribes, no visible policing, lack of professionalism and a general bad attitude, and attacks and victimisation of foreigners were just some of the concerns raised by residents in the west of Pretoria when they met the new station commander and various top police management as a community this week.
Residents say they are at their wits’ end about the increasing crime, burgeoning population in the area and little, or no, police members to fulfil their needs.
They say Pretoria West police station is not performing adequate services and is understaffed.
Lotus Garden resident Jackson Msipeng said: “This is like heaven for the criminals, because they know they can do what they want.
Police are never around and will take too long to get here even if they do come. The population is growing on a daily basis yet police numbers aren’t.”
Another resident, John Moimane, recalled an incident that left police officials on the podium glancing at one another uneasily. He said he witnessed a bottle store being robbed in Pretoria West recently where the robbers were collected by a police Quantum and sped off.
Moimane said about 20 houses were targeted in one month, yet no arrests had been made. “They are well-known criminals. Police were notified but said they could not do anything, because those criminals are too dangerous.”
A woman from Lotus Gardens made a plea for the setting up of a mobile or satellite station in the area.
Foreign nationals said they were targeted. “Asylum-seekers are stabbed, mugged and attacked,” said one. A Ugandan national said he couldn’t continue paying bribes for crimes he didn’t commit.
Gauteng’s Major-General Nobesuthu Masiye stressed the fact that the police were there for everybody. “The entire community has to get involved. We can do more if we stand together and fight crime together,” she said
She said allegations that a police Quantum was used as a getaway vehicle would be investigated. “That is corruption on the highest level and we cannot tolerate that.”
Masiye acknowledged a lack of resources at the Pretoria West station and said that requests have been sent for more vehicles.
“What we also have to understand is that manpower is also needed, but the intake of officers per year is decreasing. That is a political and national problem that needs to be addressed by the minister.”
She warned that the advent of a mobile station for Lotus Gardens could not happen overnight. “We need manpower and resources for this to be possible; it will not happen tomorrow.”
Masiye again made a request to the community to be more involved with CPF forums and to work together with the police.