Imbizo suggests ways to improve policing

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Daveyton – Vigorous training on professionalism, counselling and a crime summit -- these are just some of the recommendations forwarded by the Daveyton community to Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa during his visit to the area on Thursday.

Mthethwa today convened an imbizo with different community structures including Community Policing Forum (CPF), NGOs, youth formations, civic organisations and interfaith organisations, with an aim to discuss and find solutions to challenges arising in the area following the events of the last few weeks.

Recently, the Daveyton community has been confronted by a number of incidents, including the death of taxi driver Mido Macia in police custody; the murder of a senior citizen in Etwatwa, as well as a case of a woman who was beheaded by her partner.

During the meeting -- which was also attended by the SA Police Service (SAPS), Gauteng Commissioner Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros and Gauteng Safety and Security MEC Faith Mazibuko -- the community got an opportunity to raise their concerns, which included corruption and the conduct of some police officers.

One community member, Tshilidzo Muyayi, urged the minister to convene a crime summit, where a programme of action would be established to address the community’s concerns.

Muyayi, however, said not all men and women in blue were bad.

“We have confidence in the judiciary system. We know that justice will take its course if someone is found guilty.”

Members of the CPF asked the department to make available resources to enable them to work effectively and also give them a stipend.

In his response, Mthethwa noted that no police official could claim to succeed in crime fighting without assistance from the public.

“Our engagement with the public is on-going and all successes in the fight against crime have their [roots] in members of the public. This relationship has to be serviced all the time. There’s willingness and trust from the community to work with the police,” Mthethwa said.

He commended the relationship between the CPFs and the police, saying they wanted to further strengthen it. He, however, stressed that CPF work was voluntary.

Commenting on Macia’s death, Mthethwa said it was a tragedy which should not happen again, adding that it was something government deeply regretted.

“Police are not allowed to brutalise people but we hear stories of SAPS members doing that. We need this dialogue amongst ourselves so we can tell the police that they have a responsibility to respect the public.

“If [the police] fail, the [community] will stop respecting you and categorise you as a criminal,” Mthethwa said.

MEC Mazibuko said that police conduct was being monitored and urged the community to report any suspicious movement or behaviour by officers.

“Use your cell phone and take a picture of the van, get the number plate and give us detailed information on the event.

“All the vans have a tracker and it will tell us who was driving at the time, and they will be called to explain what they were doing in the area,” said Mazibuko.

The meeting was followed by a visit to Macia’s family, where Mthethwa conveyed his condolences to the family. 

He later met with the police management at Daveyton police station.

The Daveyton police officers who are allegedly involved in Macia’s death are currently in custody. –