PORT ELIZABETH - Police Minister Bheki Cele on Tuesday officially opened a R50 million state-of-the-art police station halfway between Matatiele and Mount Fletcher.
The long-awaited police station came after pleas from the local communities of these two Eastern Cape towns, which are situated near the Lesotho border.
These communities have raised concerns about rampant crime, especially cross-border crimes such as stock theft and citizenship.
Addressing those present, Cele said, "I am told this is a gateway police station going to the Lesotho border.
"This is a beginning of how things should be done. We will work hard to increase members to have a good mix of locally based members and those coming from far away," the Police minister said.
The new station was allocated six vehicles which include two police vans, a Quantum minibus and three bakkies that will be utilised by Detectives and Crime Prevention Unit.
Cele said he would be sending a Supply Chain Management team to sort out matters relating to accommodation of police officers in that area.
"We also want to make the station as a center of development. As you can see, most police are young and also need entertainment, we will look into that and provide an alternative," Cele said.
Several junior police officers have volunteered to come and serve in that community, while efforts to recruit more locals to be part of SAPS personnel at this station are underway.
Cele has made a plea to traditional authorities to take care of the police who have been deployed at this station. He spoke harshly against police who allow themselves to be corrupted by communities.
Cele also thanked local farmers who donated horses to the police in order to assist in the fight against cross border stock theft.
He also awarded 30 medals to 30 SAPS recipients who have been in the police service for 30 year and more.
The recipients come from the surrounding areas such as Mount Ayliff, Mount Fletcher, Matatiele, Maluti, Katkop, Elands Height and Avondale.
Cele was accompanied by Eastern Cape MEC for Transport, Safety and Liaison Weziwe Tikana and Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Luitenant-General Liziwe Ntshinga.
Ntshinga said it has taken a number of government departments to carry out the work of building and completing the police station.
African News Agency (ANA)