Plea for visible policing after meat truck hijacking in Paarl
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Cape Town: Mbekweni community members are calling for more visible policing after three suspects were arrested during a meat delivery truck hijack yesterday.
Police spokesperson Dawood Suliman said the meat delivery truck was hijacked by unknown armed suspects who demanded money and cellphones from the workers.
“The suspects used a crowbar to remove a safe with cash from the truck, and thereafter tried to flee the scene in a white VW Polo. The driver of the truck followed the suspects after the incident and saw police officers, who were patrolling the area, and alerted them by means of hand signals.
“In the midst of being pursued by the police, the suspects stopped their vehicle and fled on foot. However, Mbekweni Crime Prevention Unit members, with the assistance of Boland K9 Unit, gave chase and managed to apprehend all three suspects.
“It was later discovered that the vehicle used to commit the crime was reportedly hijacked in a Bishop Lavis case, and from the arrest, two firearms used during the hijacking and the safe were seized,” said Suliman.
Mbekweni CPF chairperson Henry Jacobs said that while this arrest was successful, there were many incidents that have gone under the radar because Mbekweni SAPS is understaffed.
“The crime in Mbekweni is high. The police try their best to fight crime but are not always successful because Mbekweni SAPS is understaffed due to the fact that SAPS members request to be transferred, with no replacement.
“New developments (5 000 RDP houses) make it more difficult. Communities live in fear. Some walk with sticks or golf clubs when go to the shops. Mbekweni shopping centre is one of the dangerous centres. People cannot withdraw money at the ATMs because they are targeted daily by ATM scammers, especially when grants are paid. Farm workers get weekly pay and neighbourhood watches can only operate during weekends due to working responsibilities.
“In order for things to become better, I believe that the national commissioner or provincial commissioner must place more SAPS members. Build a police station in the centre of Mbekweni that can be reachable for the community because it is not reachable for everyone,” said Jacobs.
According to Suliman, the three suspects, aged between 28 and 41, are due to appear in the Paarl Magistrate’s Court once they have been charged.