Durban - In celebration of Women’s Month, women members of the Durban metro police, SAPS and the eThekwini Fire Department conducted an integrated roadblock initiative.
Metro police officer Constable Nompumelelo Shoba, who has been on the force for almost 10 years, said female officers were still treated differently by the public because of their gender, especially at roadblocks.
She said this initiative was put in place to try and correct that.
“I have witnessed a lot of challenges. We work around them and we try to face them head-on. At the end of the day, we have to do our job and our job is no different from those of male officers,” said Shoba.
She said the most frustrating thing was stopping vehicles driven by males because female officers were often undermined by them.
“When men do not take us seriously that is when, as female officers, we have to take a stand show our ability to take charge and enforce the laws. We decided to take part in this women-empowering initiative because we want to show our country, especially men who do not take us seriously when we are doing our job, that we can do it and we are capable of enforcing the law and protecting citizens,” said Shoba.
Durban metro police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad said: “There have been challenges that only target female officers. Through experience, skills and training, our officers overcome (them). In a male-dominated organisation or workforce, there are always challenges. We encourage our female officers and support them all the time.”
The roadblocks, Sewpersad said, had entailed stopping all vehicles, including trucks carrying heavy equipment, and checking permits and warrants.
Three buses were found to be defective and unroadworthy, five warrants were executed and one drunk driver was arrested after causing an accident in front of the roadblock.
Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) spokesperson Simon Zwane said: “Female law enforcement officers are undertaking massive law enforcement operations throughout the country in celebration of Women’s Month and to reduce fatalities.”