For the Department of Community Safety, Security and Liaison, proactive measures appeared to be the better way of dealing with crime during the festive season at a meeting held at Jauka Hall in Nemato last Friday.
The purpose of the meeting was police engagement with the community, and it was well attended.
Nemato station commander, Captain Cowan Cannon with his team of police officers, the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa), the Department of Social Development and Department of Home Affairs were part of the meeting.
Safety, Security and Liaison representative and programme director Luthando Dastile said some crimes need the cooperation of sister departments.
Dastile further mentioned that his department works together with SAPS and people could report any dissatisfaction with regard to police treatment. But he encouraged residents to go through police station rankings before using his department as the last resort.
He said the Nemato Community Policing Forum was short of three members due to the community’s lack of participation.
Cannon answered most of the questions raised by community members.
Before even talking about the mechanisms in place to prevent crime during the festive season, he highlighted the gap between police and community members due to lack of trust in the police.
“Ever since I arrived here, I am in the process of trying to change the attitude of community towards the police and of the police towards the community. It is not at the level where it should be,” he said.
He mentioned lack of resources like vehicles as the other hindrance of the station’s effectiveness. Judging from the cases reported to the station, he highlighted criminal assault as the major concern in Nemato.
Giving further details on those cases, Cannon asserted that most of those assaults were associated with alcohol. He said the targets and victims of such assault crimes were often people heading from the pubs to their respective homes.
He added that the housebreaking had increased in Nemato in the last five months and perpetrators often range from 20 to 25 years of age.
Although he did not specify measures in place to prevent crime, he assured community members that police were in the process of doing so.
One of the issues raised by community members was drug use in the township. “Here drugs are sold as Nik Naks,” said Bonani Ketiso.
He lamented that drug sellers were known in the township.