Community declares war on crime

Totti 290512 the crowd at the Crime meeting in Totti Pic Terry Haywood

Totti 290512 the crowd at the Crime meeting in Totti Pic Terry Haywood

Published May 30, 2012


A grieving father whose son was murdered in eManzimtoti two weeks ago, told a packed meeting on Tuesday night that poor police work and a lack of communication was adding to his woes.

“The murderers ran through my house and should have left fingerprints, but no one took fingerprints in the house,” Stephen Coetzee told 700 local residents who flocked to a special meeting on crime called in the wake of the murder of his 22-year-old son, Stephen.

“There has been no response up to now,” he told the meeting at the civic centre, attended by Major-General Dumezweni Chiliza, the SAPS cluster commander, as well eManzimtoti station commander Colonel Den Mkhize, and Metro Superintendent Glen Ndlovu.

His son was gunned down by a gang of five would-be hijackers at the family’s Umdoni Grove, St Winifreds home on May 11. The father has previously told how his son took the bullet that was meant for him.

Chiliza said on Tuesday night that since the new police station commander Colonel Den Mkhize, had taken over in January, there had been “a downward trend on crime”.

Before Mkhize took over, the station “was not doing well”. Several strategies had been tried and in the end, “we had to change”, Chiliza said.

Although Mkhize “pushed” his members, there were some crimes which still persisted, Chiliza told the packed “War Against Crime” meeting in the eManzimtoti civic centre.

Chiliza told the meeting that he intended having a one-on-one with Coetzee and the two men had a lengthy conversation after the meeting.

The meeting was told that more than 20 extra police were being called in from around the province to crack down on criminals, patrols were being mounted in crime hot spots, undercover Metro police were in the area assessing the by-law contravention situation, joint SAPS and Metro police crime prevention roadblocks were being planned and the once-fashionable Neighbourhood Watch “eyes and ears” system, was about to be re-introduced.

Coetzee, who has criticised the attitude of the police who responded, saying they seemed uninterested in setting up a roadblock, said in an interview after last night’s meeting: “There is a very slippery floor and they must have grabbed a door or something as they ran through, yet no fingerprints have been taken in the house. The police took fingerprints on the car, but not enough. One man jumped into the boot and the police never took fingerprints there.

“I think the police botched this. There are no words to describe how I feel,” he said.

Vicky Wagner, the mother of another local murder victim Shane Venter, 24, who was killed in Illovo three years ago, was also at the meeting and said she was helping Coetzee with advice about the investigation: “I am still fighting for justice for my son after all this time and I don’t want Stephen to go through the same battles that I have had to go through.

“ - Daily News

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