Police chopper landing in mall parking lot for KFC causes a stir

Pictures: Bill Harrington/Facebook

Pictures: Bill Harrington/Facebook

A resident of Komani was amazed that such a dangerous vehicle could just plonk itself down with no safety precautions taken.

A Facebook user, Bill Harrington, the deputy leader of the Freedom Front Plus in the Eastern Cape, wrote on Friday that he witnessed an SAPS helicopter landing in the parking lot of a Komani shopping centre this week just so that the pilot could buy KFC for lunch.

“This was not an official police practice run and/or for any police duty concern, other than for this police pilot to land, switch his blades off and walk nonchalant 30 metres into a chicken outlet – thus, not to investigate a crime scene or whatsoever, but to queue in line for a quick takeaway and some gravy (train), with it,” Harrington wrote.

“After this police pilot got his food parcel, and paid for it, he walked out, climbed back into his police helicopter, switch on the blades and swiftly flew away.”

Harrington was concerned that the pilot could surely not have had permission to land in a busy parking lot, “with cars and people all around and not just putting his own life at danger, but those all around him”.

“He came uninvited and without pre-arranging his landing time or requesting to cordon off the area he will be needing to land.”

Some of the reactions to his post attempted to dispute that the aircraft was in fact a police chopper, or that the man was an officer.

However, Harrington maintained that he had witnessed the incident himself and uploaded another photograph that showed the police identification of the vehicle more clearly.

Picture: Bill Harrington/Facebook

A number of users shared Harrington’s outrage at the incident.

Komani (formerly Queenstown) was in the news earlier this year for another KFC-related story, when the Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality was featured in a segment of Carte Blanche.

ALSO READ: SA shocked by failing EC municipality where manager spent R90K on KFC

The investigative show discovered that large parts of Komani were left without electricity after the power network failed to be maintained for 15 years; rubbish was strewn all over; unemployment was sky high; bones and animal bodies were left rotting outside; the river was in a disgusting state; raw sewage overflowed in the township; and potholes were a mainstay of streets that had few working traffic lights.

Electricity transformers exploded in June due to their dilapidation, though the municipality tried to blame it on people switching on too many of their appliances at the same time.

Because of the power woes, the water supply became non-existent in some areas.

Municipal equipment, including waste removal trucks and earth-moving maintenance machines, bakkies and more had to be auctioned to recover some debts after the municipality didn’t defend itself in court against creditors and had a default judgment made against it.

Most scandalously, the municipal manager, Chris Magwangqana, spent R90,000 on KFC as “catering” within a few days of his appointment in January, which he defended to presenter Derek Watts as not being significant because the municipality had spent more money on service delivery.

However, many councillors said the town’s many multimillion-rand projects, such as a taxi rank for R30 million, were either never finished or ended up becoming white elephants.

Last year, Northern Cape police commissioner Risimati Shivuri also made headlines when he used a helicopter to fly 4km to Colesberg to get a Wimpy breakfast, according to the Sunday Times.

(Edited by Charles Cilliers)

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