Mthethwa declares war on izinyoka

Friday, February 26, 2010

Pretoria - Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa has urged the community of Thembalethu in the Western Cape to help identify cable thieves and ensure that they are thrown in jail.

"When criminals steal these cables they do not take them to the bushes or rivers, they sell them back to society. Unless we take a stance as communities to report these izinyoka (cable thieves) to police, we will always be giving these criminals' empires space to grow," he said.

Mthethwa said communities need to begin to instil consciousness in society to be intolerant to these izinyoka.

"If communities buy cables from izinyoka, you automatically become inyoka. Our police-led operations supported by this community need to pay attention to this issue as a matter of urgency," he said.

The community shared their frustrations with the minister during a community participation meeting held at the local community hall on Thursday night.

Present at the meeting were the local police management, Community Policing Forum (CPF) structures, ward councillors and residents.

Mthethwa appealed to the community to refrain from buying stolen cables. The community responded by committing themselves to foster partnerships with the police in fighting this trend as well as other criminal acts affecting them.

"This community's decision not to sit on the sidelines and throw criticism at police, but actively join the police in fighting crime, is commendable.

"We see you as equal partners in our quest of creating safer communities. It is through such dialogue followed by practical actions that we can defeat the scourge of crime," he said.

Some of the major challenges facing the community of Thembalethu include escalating rape incidents, domestic violence, house break-ins, common robberies and non functional street lights and house numbering.

Other challenges include an increase in unlicensed liquor operators coupled with drug abuse. Local police management highlighted that these taverns were a major contributor to the escalation of crime and drug use especially by under-age children.

However, through an effective partnership between police and a group of local volunteers, known as Bambanani, crime in the area has decreased.