Community wants more than a satellite station

Mainly children took to the streets to hand in a memorandum outside the gate of the Bophelong Police Station recently. Photo: Lazarus Dithagiso

BOPHELONG. – Police Operational Commander, Colonel Mongezi Gulashe gave a warning during a march organised by the Vanderbijlpark Trauma Counselling Empowerment Centre.

He warned the community to stop opening criminal cases and later dropping them and said that both the police and the community should have trust in one another.

The recent march started in the Bophelong Extensions and saw hundreds of residents participating. The community complained about the rate of escalating crime and appealed to Police to give all crime serious attention.

After receiving the memo, Gulashe said, “Once we have regular meetings with the community, nothing will deter us.”

He said the community needed to be workshopped on how to handle serious cases. This would avoid matters being withdrawn while investigations were in progress:

“Our investigating officers (IO) feel they are not doing justice to the community. It is our community who complain when they see a suspect loitering. As the police, our mandate is to serve with pride, to keep you happy.”

Presenting the memo, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the trauma centre, George Sibanda, appealed to both Police and the Community Policing Forum (CPF) to be visible:

“It is in the interests of the community to work hand-in-hand with Police. We want to answer questions asked by residents. We want to know what reaction we should expect.”

Sibongile Genu of SANCO Vanderbijlpark Zone said the Bophelong area is huge. “The area needs more attention, including a police station, not a satellite. This area embraces clinics and a library service that serves only a few residents of old Bophelong.”

The march was organised by Perseverance Nkomo from the trauma centre.

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