Special team deployed to Mamelodi to combat crime
The 100-strong crime combat and reaction team was introduced by Police Minister Bheki Cele during a gathering at the International Assemblies of God Church.
Afterwards, Cele said the township would not be held to ransom by small-time criminals.
He was with MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane and national police commissioner General Khehla Sitole.
The unit is tasked with protecting Mamelodi residents and will be stationed in the township until the community and the police are satisfied that the operation has eradicated crime including robbery, rape, assault, theft and extortion.
Nkosi-Malobane and Cele called out the taxi boss dubbed Mamelodi Number 1 Tsotsi, who has been accused of demanding protection fees from taxi operators and business owners.
Cele said he did not know the man and did not have a relationship with him. He was responding to an accusation that the minister was electioneering using the man’s name.
Cele said he had heard the accused’s spokesperson was present at a public meeting last week during which he declared they would catch the man, whose name has been withheld.
Before his address, Cele walked towards the crowd, calling out the name of the spokesperson and saying he wanted to confront him face-to-face.
Cele said criminals who got away with activity in Mamelodi should know that their time was up. He said the unit was gunning for them hard. He said people who collected R200 fees from taxi operators every Tuesday needed to know that last Tuesday was their last collection day. He said there wouldn’t be any more collections of such funds.
“Business people, stop giving criminals money. Go to the police; we know what we’ll do with those people.
“We are here to make sure that criminality is rooted out. We can’t allow people to be run by thugs; thugs shall not be allowed to run our lives here.”
Nkosi-Malobane described Number 1 Tsotsi as a dog that should not be allowed to intimidate the people of Mamelodi. She thanked Cele for bringing a team to fight criminals.
Resident Itumeleng Dlathu said: “We will wait to see what happens in the next couple of weeks. We would love to see residents living in peace and women walking freely at night. Crime has taken over we need change.”