DCSSL lays down the law

DCSSL lays down the law

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GK CRONJE

23 March 2021

The operation saw SAPS and traffic officers coming together to patrol the area, and visiting 14 liquor outlets and taverns in the area to ensure compliance, while enhancing law enforcement visibility which is also critical to crime prevention.

A joint operation, led by Mpumalanga MEC for Community Safety, Security and Liaison, Vusi Shongwe over the weekend, saw several people being arrested for offences, ranging from driving under the influence, illegal possession of firearms and public drinking. Many clubs, pubs, taverns and shebeens were investigated for disregarding the National Disaster Regulations, wearing of face masks and sanitization. The operation saw SAPS and traffic officers coming together to patrol the area, and visiting 14 liquor outlets and taverns in the area to ensure compliance, while enhancing law enforcement visibility which is also critical to crime prevention. These operations are aimed at promoting law enforcement visibility, and also enhancing working together of various stakeholders within Justice Crime Prevention and Security departments (JCPS) in order to reduce crime and road crashes.

During the operation in Ermelo, three suspects were arrested in connection with an incident where six people were shot at a local tavern on Thursday. Two people of the six succumbed to their injuries on scene. Three people sustained serious injuries, while the fourth person was critically wounded and is still in the hospital. The suspects were charged with two counts murder, and four counts of attempted murder. One of the suspects was further charged with unlawful possession of a firearm. Speaking after the operation, MEC Shongwe says the programme will go a long way towards ensuring that law enforcement officers are respected by all communities. He expressed unhappiness about growing disrespect to the police and traffic officers by many people. “Police must not service crime, because our communities deserve to live in peace. The police must be respected by all because they are prime protectors of communities.” Shongwe said. He has also called on law enforcers to do their work without fear or favor, to bring wanted suspects to book. He warned the police not to be friendly with criminals because if they are associated with shady characters, they will not be respected in their communities. According to Shongwe, one of the contributing factors to crime in Ermelo is the existence of gangs that are seemingly fueled by some individuals in the business community with nefarious intentions of destabilizing their competitors.

The MEC pledged to fully support efforts by the SAPS and traffic officers to eradicate crime, and make the roads safer. He has called for the return of the Tactical Response Team (TRT), saying that the unit is key towards securing communities and dealing with crime especially in areas identified as hotspots. He also announced that the department's Traffic Intervention Unit (TIU) will be relaunched. He outlined that TIU will work closely with TRT on specific and targeted areas in order to deal with crime and road safety. He mentioned that TIU members will be retrained, so as to strengthen traffic law enforcement and road safety in the province. He further undertook to ensure that there was adequate budget for traffic law enforcement including payments of overtime payments and working tools such as vehicles. On the other hand, the MEC blasted some liquor traders who had no regard for the lockdown regulations. At most of the establishments visited, there was no social distancing among patrons, and many people were also not wearing masks.

- Issued by Mpumalanga Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison