Nemato community airs crime grievances
RESIDENTS of Nemato had the opportunity to address their complaints about crime and dissatisfaction with local policing to the big brass last Friday, when Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga attended an accountability engagement event at Titi Jonas Hall in Thornhill.
The event was convened by the Department of Safety and Liaison in partnership with SAPS.
Community members were given a chance to speak before department officials responded to the issues raised.
Before community members spoke, programme director Mahoy Nkontso clarified that he hoped there would not only be complaints, but also compliments and suggestions. But that was not to be the case, as there followed a string of complaints, to the dismay of Port Alfred Cluster Commander Brigadier Morgan Govender.
Some community leaders were part of a group unhappy about SAPS services. Ward 6 councillor Mkhululi Raco said there was division between the Nemato police station and the Port Alfred station.
“This integration does not exist, mam,” Raco said to Ntshinga. He also raised his dissatisfaction about the Nemato detectives, whom he claimed are regarded as incompetent simply because are based in Nemato.
He said community proposals to help reduce crime were rejected due to a lack of budget. “When we suggest programmes we are told that there is no budget, how come?” Raco asked. He elaborated further that street committees are not equipped enough compared to Community Policing Forum members.
Resident Lulama Sontsonga highlighted her dissatisfaction over the protection of informants. She said police officers expose the names of those reporting crime to the accused offenders. She said this compromised the protection of informants.
Sontsonga mentioned that people often kill each other at parties and therefore police should target those areas.
Another community member raised her dissatisfaction about rape victims who are interviewed in the presence of other complainants at the Nemato police Station.
Ntshinga expressed her dissatisfaction about the gap between the Port Alfred Cluster Commander and community.
“First of all, as I am listening I am surprised by this gap. Commander, understand your people and work together with your people,” Ntshinga said to Govender.
However, in her overall comments she encouraged corporation between police officers and community members. Responding to comments about death at parties, she said parents should be responsible for their children as well.
“How can you sleep with your children out till 3am in the morning?” asked Ntshinga.
She said no police should expose names of people who report crime, and the names of those police officers should be forwarded to her. However, no one present at the meeting named any police officer.
Ntshinga further mentioned that there is a budget for informants who work with police.
“When a case is taken to court and the offender is charged the informant gets paid,” she said.
Commenting on crime fighting programmes turned down by the police, she emphasised that she is the only person who can comment about budget and there is always a budget for such programmes.
Ntshinga also announced that SAPS is working on the means to extend the Nemato police station.