Durban — Operation Shanela KZN saw high-density operations in Durban and other identified crime hot spots in the eThekwini metro on Friday.
Police said they acted on intelligence and conducted crime prevention raids, executed warrants of arrests and conducted disruptive operations removing firearms and other dangerous weapons from the streets.
The eThekwini metro leg of Operation Shanela saw police hit the streets of KwaMashu and other identified crime hot spots in the eThekwini metro with the SAPS out in their numbers acting on intelligence and conducting crime prevention raids and removing drivers of crime -- such as alcohol and drugs -- off the streets.
Officers also acted on warrants of arrests, taking in custody undesirable elements as well as wanted suspects and conducted disruptive operations removing firearms and other dangerous weapons, police said.
Simultaneously, seven major operations took place in the Durban metro and surrounding areas. The Friday night operations continued until 6am on Saturday morning.
Police Ministry spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, said the ministry was dismayed by the resistance from some communities on the removal of crime drivers.
Themba said that while Operation Shanela continues to improve the police’s responses to crime across the country, the Ministry of Police is encouraged by the SAPS’ zero-tolerance approach to illegal liquor outlets that operate with impunity at the expense of communities.
She said the ministry is convinced that the SAPS can further bolster the fight against crime and keep communities safer if officers consistently tackle the illegal sale and consumption of alcohol in communities.
Themba said that alcohol plays a major role in violence and is a major crime driver in South Africa.
“According to the latest released crime statistics, 4 635 liquor-related crimes were reported to the SAPS between April and June 2023,” Themba said.
“In three months, 247 murders and 1 143 rapes took place either at a bar, club, tavern or a shebeen. A staggering 3 147 cases of assault GBH took place at a liquor outlet.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele joined the KwaZulu-Natal leg of Operation Shanela where police in the eThekwini Metro, amongst other operations, conducted raids targeting illegal liquor outlets.
Minister Cele noted with displeasure and great concern the amount of resistance from communities during police raids and closures of unlicensed liquor outlets.
“It’s a fact! Alcohol is a major driver of crime in communities and police are under instruction to enforce the law and shut down illegal liquor hangouts and bring the owners to book,” Cele said.
“While this might be seen as a low-hanging fruit or ‘easy target’ for the police, for us; prevention will always be better than cure. Police must continue to target and shut down these unlicensed liquor outlets that sell to underage customers, operate for hours on end with impunity and dismally fail to ensure the safety of their customers when alcohol fuelled fights break out or vulnerable customers are targeted by criminals.”
Cele added: “Such outlets are a menace to society and to policing and will not be tolerated.”
Countrywide, Operation Shanela’s inception in May 2023, resulted in the arrest of more than 155 000 suspected criminals and the high-density operations continue each week in all provinces.
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