DURBAN - Police in uMlazi have started hiring more officers to fight the raging crime in the province’s biggest township in the south of Durban.
The township has been declared the number one crime hot spot in the country in the latest statistics.
The recruitment was announced by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Monday during his visit to the township where he led a walk against gender-based violence, which he said was also becoming a problem in the township.
The minister told the media that the process to fill in the positions of 28 officers which had been vacant for months, had started and was nearing completion.
Cele added that this included the replacement of station commander, Brigadier Bongi Ntuli who retired months ago.
He also said the issue of 21 police vehicles that were reportedly stuck in the garage for repairs has also been addressed, adding that the issue of backlogs at police garages had been a problem for most stations in the country.
“As we are here today, our provincial commissioner Lieutenant-General Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi was not supposed to be with us as he was seized with interviews to fill all the positions, including in this station. We are addressing that and the issue of vans that had been sitting in the garages so that police do not tell people who asked for help that there are no vans to attend the scene of crime ,” said Cele.
He added that he had asked for a meeting in February with national commissioner Khehla Sitole, together with provincial commissioners, to talk about the matter of backlogs in the police garages because “something was wrong”.
He said in Nyanga police station out of 44 vans the station has, 24 were at garages which made it difficult for officers to do their work.
In September the Daily News reported that uMlazi police station was short of 28 officers, and 21 vehicles that were said to be undergoing repairs at the state garage.
This problem was made worse by escalating criminal activities in the township and the failure of police to fight the spate of murders in the township.
In September the township recorded mass murders of 11 people in two separate incidents which prompted the minister to visit the township.
Six people, including a woman, had been gunned down at Zamani settlement at U section, while five others were killed at W section.
In June a K9 police officer, Sergeant Siyabonga Hadebe was shot and killed in uMlazi while playing a game of pool with tavern patrons.
Although a woman, a neighbour of the deceased, was arrested, an alleged hitman was shot and killed by police at W section.
Two weeks ago a prosecutor Lonwabo Booi was shot and killed while entering uMlazi Magistrate’s Court.