Newly-appointed provincial commissioner 
Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula last week. Picture: Supplied
Durban - KWAZULU-Natal’s newly-appointed provincial commissioner plans to create a safer environment and restore people’s trust in the police.

Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Elvis Jula, 55, was appointed from August 1 after heading up the police services in the Western Cape.

He told the POST he also planned to tackle contact crimes and trio crimes.

Contact crimes are murder, attempted murder, and sexual offences, as well as common assault and robbery. Trio crimes include car-jackings, house robberies and business robberies.

“The most problematic issues that are related to crime are contact crimes, specifically murders, which are soaring at the moment.”

He said while contact crimes and trio crimes presented difficulties for the police, they were up to the challenge. However, he called upon communities to assist with information.

“We need to identify those areas where communities have concerns and invite them to come forward so that we can understand exactly what they are talking about and then we can embark on operations.

“It will be important for communities to work with us so that we can identify specific criminals, although we know some of whom are repeat offenders.”

He said he had already issued a directive to his teams to create WhatsApp groups.

“We are in the process of ensuring that is rolled out soon. We want to encourage victims of crime, members of the community, and sources, to report crime as it unfolds. In this way, we will be aware of incidents on the street level.”

Jula also emphasised that not all crimes could be policed.

“There are issues that arise from families. So we need to get involved in efforts that are going to re-engineer the family values. Non-profit organisations and other social partners all need to get involved.”

Jula said he would set targets for the police when dealing with the scourge of drugs in the province.

“Drugs are a bit of a challenge considering that people and the communities are allowed to use drugs for their own personal purposes in private spaces. We are still waiting for further guidelines to be issued by the courts in terms of determining how much drugs will be deemed as personal use.

“However, we are identifying drug dens and kingpins. We will embark on intelligence-driven operations, specifically targeting drugs and the targets we set out have to be met.”

He said aside from drugs, he also planned on tackling the sale of illegal firearms and illegal liquor outlets.

On the issue of rogue elements in the police, Jula said he planned to implement programmes that would discourage members from getting involved in criminal activity.

“If the call that we make to discourage them does not stop them, then we have no option but to adopt more serious sanctions and possible dismissals.”

On the issue of minority groups being sidelined for promotions, Jula said: “When we promote officers, we adhere to the policies of this government, and even in instances where we have to promote members based on race and gender, what becomes very pivotal is the merit, qualifications, experience and what that member is capable of doing.

Jula said he had ordered an audit of the detective services.

“A skills audit will be conducted to know how many of our 5 000 detectives in KZN are adequately trained for their duties, especially the basic investigation roles which are part of their responsibility when handling dockets. Depending on the findings, we will look at workshops and on the job training. The idea is to pair up seasoned detectives with juniors.”

Jula said he would want to be remembered as the provincial commissioner who took the fight against crime in KZN to unprecedented levels.

“I want to be a provincial commissioner who is going to assist in breaking the vicious cycle of violence in this province, who is going to arrest most of the thugs and perpetrators in this province, who will ensure that they remain behind bars for longer than ever before.

“A provincial commissioner who is going to be remembered as the provincial commissioner who restored even investor confidence in the areas that are affected by criminality.”