26/07/2012 Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa in an interview at St George Hotel. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Durban - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa read the riot act to police in Mariannhill on Sunday, telling them to either serve communities diligently or get out of the force as thousands of people were queuing for a job in the SAPS.

Mthethwa joined an anti-crime march in St Wendolins, outside Pinetown, and heard from locals about the poor service they were given by the local police station.

The march was in response to the rape and murder of a woman in the area in May.

An elderly woman, Thandazile Ntuli, told Mthethwa that her house was broken into while she was asleep. The criminals fired off 21 shots before leaving her house with all her belongings.

“I reported the matter to the police, but nothing has been done. I was hoping police would come and collect bullet casings that were left after the incident but they have not come. I keep getting messages from the police that my case had been taken by a different detective,” said Ntuli.

Community members opened their hearts to Mthethwa explaining how the high rate of crime in the area, fuelled by drugs and alcohol abuse, was making their lives impossible. They said the police response was always poor.

Mthethwa said it was unacceptable that the community was treated so badly by police whey they reported crime.

“I am not going to accept that police do not attend to the complaints from the community timeously and diligently.

“Those police who do not want to serve should leave the force and give others an opportunity to join the force and serve the people,” he said.

He urged all stakeholders to join in the fight against crime, singling out drugs and alcohol abuse as key drivers of crime in the country.

“The campaign against drugs should target the source. People who push drugs in our communities are killing the future of the youth and future leaders,” he said.

Mthethwa said one of the biggest contributors to crime was the market for stolen goods which encouraged thieves to break into people’s homes to steal. To deal with this the government was tightening the Second Hand Goods Act. - The Mercury