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Durban - Christmas Box or not? That’s the question faced by Durban residents as the festive season draws near.

This week businesses in Hillcrest were visited by four female police officers collecting donations for a year-end braai for members at the police station.

While some were outraged, others were happy to hand over some cash for a “chop and dop”.

SAPS spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge confirmed that the donation collection by Hillcrest police was above board.

“The donations were voluntary and were done in accordance with the law. The officers have complied with the declaration of sponsorship and the necessary registers were completed. There are no elements of fraud and corruption,” said Mdunge.

But there’s no such thing as collecting donations for a year-end bash for metro cops. Metro police spokesman Eugene Msomi said members were not permitted to collect donations from the public.

KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport spokesman Kwanele Ncalane discouraged road traffic police from collecting donations.

“If they want to have a Christmas party, we encourage our members to collect money among themselves,” Ncalane said.

DA police spokeswoman Dianne Kohler Barnard said she was shocked to hear police were visiting businesses asking for money.

“If a reputable organisation arranges a year-end lunch for their police station, that is acceptable. But for SAPS members to go knocking on doors is totally wrong.”

Durban Solid Waste public relations officer Neeri Moodley said: “Staff are strictly prohibited from touting for gifts or money. Residents are advised to be wary of charlatans posing as municipal workers who have been known to solicit gifts.”

Post Office regional spokeswoman Nobuhle Njapha said the practice of Christmas boxes was not allowed and should be reported.