Estcourt – Police Minister Nkosinathi Nhleko on Thursday assured South Africans that security will be beefed up during the festive season.
“We will increase the number of police officers throughout the country to ensure the safety of all South Africans during the festive season,” he said.
Speaking at the launch of Operation Duty Calls, a festive season safety campaign, Minister Nhleko called on communities to report or expose any criminal activities in their communities.
“As government, we need your assistance in fighting crime,” he said.
Minister Nhleko said the festive season safety campaign will focus on armed robberies, liquor outlets, social crimes, tracking wanted criminals, road safety campaigns and border patrols.
He said the campaign will also be extended to rural communities throughout the country where stock theft is still a problem. He called on stock owners to always mark their livestock.
Operation Duty Calls will conclude at the end of January 2015. The campaign will also focus on clamping down on a number of criminal activities, which include drug abuse and dealing as well as cash-in-transit heists and ATM bombings.
During the campaign, the South African Police Service will continue to raise awareness on how people can ensure the safety of children over the festive season.
Also as part of Operation Duty Calls, rural protection will be intensified, while high visibility patrols will be increased along tourist destinations, especially in coastal cities.
Operation Duty Calls will be carried out jointly with the Departments of Defence, Home Affairs and Justice and Correctional Services.
Defence and Military Veterans Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula said they chose to launch the campaign at Wembezi because the area experienced violence before the elections in May.
“We committed to people that even after the elections we will continue to monitor the area. We want to assure our people that we are here for them,” she said.
Wembezi was one of the areas identified as a hotspot before the elections.
National Police Commissioner General Riah Phiyega also called on communities to expose any suspicious activities in their communities.
“Ensuring your safety is our daily task. We do not only focus on it over the festive season. We discuss and devise ways of responding to crime in South Africa throughout the year.
“We have realised the importance of involving you, the people we serve, to give you a say in how policing should be implemented in your community,” she said.
Phiyega told the local community that police have the safety and security of all law-abiding citizens at heart.
“We are very concerned about criminality and we respond to any element of criminality in the best possible way,” she said.
Phiyage said the campaign will also focus on ensuring the safety of women and children.
A resident of Wembezi, Sizakele Sikhakhane, told SAnews that she was happy the number of police will be increased in her area during the festive season.
She said they were tired of criminals who prey on them during the festive season.
Many locals shared Sikhakhane’s sentiments, saying there were many criminals who must be arrested.
The launch of the campaign has brought hope to the locals, who said they were looking forward to a crime-free festive season.
Members of the public with information about criminal activities are advised to call Crime Stop on 08600 10111 or SMS Crime Line on 32211 or go online at www.crimeline.co.za. – SAnews.gov.za