“Police must win back trust of communities in Northern Areas” - Nhleko


Police Minister Nathi Nhleko has said police in Nelson Mandela Bay would up its performance in an attempt to win back the confidence of residents affected by gang-related violence.

Addressing the media on Thursday at the launch of Operation Lockdown in Port Elizabeth following a tour of the city’s troubled Northern Areas, Nhleko said a lack of trust and resources had played a significant part in residents questioning the capability of police.

“As the South African Police Service, broadly speaking, we are challenged in the sense of there being changes in the local dynamics such as population growth for example. This means that from a policing stand point, you would have to expanded resources from what was a small homestead to one that has now grown,” Nhleko said.

“The critical factor is the question of how we use existing resources to achieve better result, as it is impossible to have a sufficient number of police assigned to every household. That is why there has to be better co-operation between police and members of the community if we want to realise these goals”.

Nhleko however remarked that Lockdown, which came into effect on March 11th in Bethelsdorp and Galvandale, has proved to be a success with police having arrested six suspects, and confiscated six illegal firearms as well as 93 rounds of ammunition.

A total of 45 traffic fines worth R36 000 were also made out with 21 further arrests having taken place on charges ranging from drunken driving to car jackings and the possession of illegal drugs.

He also stated that the operation aims to stabilise the situation in the above mentioned areas, as well as improve the detection and prosecuting of suspects involved in gangsterism.

“Together with the National Prosecuting Authority, we are looking at the possibility of dedicated prosecutors as well as a dedicated detective gang task team to be put in his place,” Nhleko said.

Quizzed on whether the army would intervene as with Operation Fiela, Nhleko stated that Lockdown would be led by the police with the army merely playing as supporting roll.

He also declined to comment when asked if the deploying of more police was in response to the local government elections, merely saying that police interventions have continued in the area, and that Lockdown would consolidate the work carried out so far.


CAPTION: Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Nelson Mandela Bay Deputy Mayor Bicks Ndoni (white shirt) on a tour of Kleinskool in Metro's troubled Northern Areas