Police Minister Bheki Cele engaged the community and listened to their concerns related to crime when he did a walkabout in Mau-Mau in Nyanga yesterday. Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency (ANA)
The 120 police officers trained as part of the police’s Technical Response Unit (TRT) will focus on rooting out crime and prioritise Nyanga.

This is according Police Minister Bheki Cele, who addressed residents in Mau-Mau in Nyanga yesterday.

The visit was in his capacity as ANC NEC member, but he said he could not ignore residents’ concerns about crime and took the opportunity to address the police ministry’s crime prevention operations in the province. Cele also visited ANC veteran 75-year-old Thandiwe Ngamlana to get first hand information on what measures should be taken to combat crime in Mau-Mau.

Cele told a gathering of about 100 people at Ilinge Primary School that construction of a mobile police station in Samora Machel had already started.

He acknowledged that at Nyanga police station there were 90 police officers compared to the 220 that the station was supposed to have been allocated.

He also acknowledged that there were police officers who were corrupt and working with criminals but said “it is only a few of them”.

Residents complained that police were telling them that there is shortage of police vehicles in Nyanga thus they were not attending to some complaints.

Police Minister Bheki Cele acknowledged that at Nyanga police station there were 90 police officers compared to the 220 that the station was supposed to have been allocated. Video: Sandiso Phaliso

“We need to sit down and count how many cars we have, how do we best use the cars we have and how many we need,” said Cele. He said that when the TRT officers were done with their training there would be police visibility and some areas being no-go zones would come to an end.

“As a government we need to listen to the people and we are doing that. This area (Nyanga) was not only a murder capital for residents but a murder capital for police officers as well,” he said.

It was of concern that there were areas that did not have street lights and CCTV cameras that had not been working for almost a decade and some informal settlements were not policed properly because there were no pathways or roads for police cars, he said.

“Most of the people we are going to arrest are your children and this thing of parents hiding their children when police are looking for them must stop.

‘‘If the community is not working hand-in-hand with the police we are not going to win this battle.

“I am told in this area there are people who do cash-in transit heists and I am told I greeted them,” he said.

Community Policing Forum chairperson Martin Makasi said: “We want a lockdown as early as yesterday. Minister Cele has listened to the people and seen for himself the challenges people face and he will act.”