National 21.9.2016 07:10 am

Politicians accused of using cops as fodder in protests

Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange

Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange

A Gauteng police boss has accused political leaders of dodging responsibility and making policemen face the music on their behalf.

Gauteng deputy provincial police commissioner Major-General Eric Nkuna yesterday slammed politicians for throwing police in front of service-delivery protests during a presentation of Gauteng’s annual crime statistics to the Gauteng Provincial Legislature’s portfolio committee on community safety.

“Once we divert resources, police stations are not going to meet their objectives, you can forget it. These people prolong and prolong and prolong over a land invasion and it becomes worse. Then it becomes the police’s baby and we have to deal with the land issue,” Nkuna said.

“I’m not blaming anybody but people have to take responsibility. Those who are supposed to receive memorandums, their cellphones are off … you won’t get them anywhere. Now we must go. These are local government issues, people must take responsibility,” Nkuna said.

His comments – in response to questions about the high number of police stations with poor results by Peoples Assembly member Jacob Khawe – raised uneasy laughter inside the legislature.

There had been 1969 peaceful protests and 638 had been violent during 2015/16, police reported yesterday.

Gauteng provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange said 13 police stations had been identified as “contributing towards the crime of Gauteng” and had already put measures in place to assist those police stations.

“If it is a question of leadership, then we will definitely have to remove some of the station commanders from their positions, together with their cluster commanders,” De Lange said, pledging that by 1 October, when the quarterly results were released, there would be a marked improvement.

De Lange said there was a time when a station’s commander’s contact details would be available to the public to call when they received unsatisfactory service. “We definitely have to go back to that, Chair, I promise you we’ll go back as management, it will have to come back because it used to work for us.”

DA MPL Kate Lorimer pointed to a decrease in business burglary but an increase in business robbery, and a similar pattern in theft of motor vehicles and carjackings.

“So we’re seeing a shift to more violent crime in those categories and that to me is quite concerning,” Lorimer said.

Lorimer refused to accept the 4% drop in sexual offences.

“I’m afraid I still don’t believe these figures because anecdotally when I’m on the ground in informal settlements the number of people who do not report sexual assault or rapes is terrifying,” Lorimer said.

“It’s become: ‘Oh well, this has happened to me, let’s just move on. So, anecdotally, we’re not seeing that on the ground. People are feeling harassed when they go to police stations; they don’t feel like they are treated respectfully, and they are made to feel guilty for reporting crimes like this and it’s really something we need to address properly.”

Murder was up by 4.7% and attempted murder by 8.9%, while robbery with aggravating circumstances was up by 5.1%.

Property-related crimes were down by 3.2% overall while crime detected as a result of police action had dropped by 8.4%, or 8 468 cases.



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