Police Minister Bheki Cele has ordered a day public engagement in Eldorado Park to deal with the unsolved cases backlog in the area.
This comes after community members complained that the local police stations were not resolving nor were they providing updates on serious cases reported. Cele on Thursday met with the community for an imbizo.
Twenty-seven residents took turns relating harrowing accounts of murder, sexual harassment and brutal torture at the hands of known suspects and police officers. Pain, they said, was often compounded by lax police response.
Cele bemoaned the long list of unresolved cases in the areas, urging the community to anonymously name officers who allegedly take bribes from criminals and intentionally bungling up case dockets.
“We just need a clinic here and invite everybody – national, provincial and local to take down all these cases in one day. In addition, all of us work together to deal with those cases in one day and they are all finalised. Finalisation will mean either someone goes to jail or a court says no one is guilty. But they can’t just be hanging,” he said.
During the engagement, residents said they were living in constant fear of crime. They also complained of not being assisted at the local stations when they called for help, saying they were often told about a lack of resources – workers and vehicles. Rife drug peddling also ranked high among complaints.
One resident spoke of how locals lived in fear of being attacked by a known person who preys on single and vulnerable women. She also spoke about a group of young men in the area who loiters from early morning to maim, rape, murder and destroy.
“It is unacceptable to like a dog in your own country,” said the woman.
Cele told community members that he aims to bring lasting solutions to their problems.
“We won’t hesitate to act and arrest our own, bring the names of the corrupt officers here so we can deal with them.”
The Minister issued a stern warning to members of the police service who are not serving communities.
“If you no longer want to wear your blue uniform, we have no problem putting you in orange uniform,” Cele said.
The Minister commended a group of young community crime fighters in the area.
He urged the various crime fighting community organizations to unite and speak in one voice to avoid distortion.
“I’m getting many voices and with many voices you don’t usually win. You are opening cracks and criminals are laughing and allowing them to take over,” he said.
He said the police leadership would return to the area to engage community leaders on a how to deal with the scourge. “We will be coming back here soon.”