Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele said he was flabbergasted by the amount of alcohol the police had confiscated during raids and searches at illegal liquor outlets in the Western Cape.
As part of the Safer Festive Season campaign, Cele, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz and police management including national police commissioner Khehla Sitole and provincial police commissioner Thembisile Patekile on Monday visited the police’s central liquor storage facility in Belhar, where 150 000 litres of confiscated alcohol was destroyed.
SAPS Liquor Control commander Sindisa Plika said the top contributing police stations were Delft, Gugulethu, Harare, Khayelitsha, Kraaifontein, Milnerton and Nyanga.
Plika said 2 029 operations were conducted from April 1 to November 30, with 66 966 compliance inspections.
Soon after the destruction of the liquor, Cele and the delegation drove to Makhaza to hand over policing resources where a police station was supposed to have been built seven years ago and instead a mobile police station was recently opened.
Fritz said the community should celebrate because that was just a start for them. He thanked Cele and Sitole “for listening to the community” in their plea for a police station.
Fritz said the residents of Makhaza deserved the same resources as those in advantaged communities.
Makhaza ward councillor Lucky Mbiza said residents had been waiting for a police station for many years.
“We are waiting eagerly, especially now that we received a satellite station, and we are hoping for more in this area,” Mbiza said.
He thanked Cele for the resources for their mobile police station and said he hoped that next year a police station would be built in Makhaza.
However, Cele said there were many police stations to be built and he could not tell how long it would take for Makhaza to have its own fully fledged police station.
Ten police vehicles and 50 personnel were assigned to the mobile station. Cele said most of the resources were shifted internally from other stations in the Western Cape to high-crime areas like Makhaza.
The handover of resources came seven years after the Khayelitsha commission of inquiry (KCOI) into policing released its findings and recommendations. The site where a police station was supposed to be built in Makhaza still stood empty despite the recommendations at the time.
Vuyo Khonkwani, Community Police Forum project co-ordinator for Harare, said the lack of resources was frustrating and “it made them feel a failure to the community" but hoped the new resources would stimulate and encourage them to work harder.
He urged residents to take care of the resources.
“The community must not stone these vehicles, and should not allow people, including the police, to abuse them,“he said.