Joburg wants accountability for arrests made by its metro police
News / 18 September 2018, 07:45am / Sibongile Mashaba
The City of Joburg wants accountability for arrests made by its metro police officers.
To do this, Joburg metro police chief David Tembe and mayor Herman Mashaba announced on Monday that a special unit has been established to trace the cases.
Tembe and Mashaba have also launched a monthly crime statistics report for Joburg.
Though thousands of arrests have been made for various crimes, Tembe and Mashaba decried the fact that the cases never got very far, especially cases of drunk driving.
There were 7253 arrests made from January to August 2018. During the same period last year, 8803 people were arrested.
“With drunk driving, it's really one of my concerns. We arrest them and it ends there. Our job is to arrest and take them to police stations.
“There is something that we are going to do now. We have established a unit that will track all these cases (where people) have been arrested by the JMPD and find out what happened to them.
"If ever we can't find them, I will have to escalate it to the executive mayor to deal with it,” Tembe said.
He said the problem was that people were released from police stations without formal charges being brought against them.
“That is the problem. We've got no control over it. We will track our cases. If it is our mistake, we will correct it. If it is somebody's mistake, we will ensure that they correct it. There will be consequences,” Tembe said.
Last week's national crime stats released by Minister of Police Bheki Cele showed that 125 people were murdered in Jeppe, Joburg, in the 2017/18 financial year. At least 88 people were killed in the 2016/17 period.
Sandton also made it onto the top 30 national list of areas in which people are not safe in their homes, with 208 cases recorded.
The statistics showed that since Operation Buya Mthetho was launched earlier this year, 1358 vehicles were impounded, compared to 2153 last year.
At least 24 people were apprehended for illegal connections.
“(For us as a city) because of the low rate of prosecutions, once we arrest people, we don't actually get the final result. We believe the City of Joburg is losing between R7billion and R10bn a year on these illegal connections,” Mashaba said.
He said the city would release crime stats on a monthly basis to enable themselves to monitor trends and intensify law enforcement.
Tembe said the city had an increase in protests compared to land invasion cases, saying in 2017 there were 154 protests and 35 land invasions.
This year, there were 169 protests and 77 land invasions.
“These protests happen at any given time but mostly in the morning. It is about service delivery.”
He said their challenge was that communities did “not apply, they just protest”.
At least 189 people were arrested for public violence this year, compared to 31 last year. Tembe said 561 building were hijacked in the city during the period under review.