The South African Police Service (SAPS) has established a specialised team that will investigate politically related violence that has in recent times plagued Tshwane ahead of the November Local Government Elections.
This comes after Police Minister Bheki Cele on Wednesday led two Izimbizo in Mamelodi and Mabopane.
In a statement, the Police Ministry said Tshwane had been identified as a hotspot for potential attacks and threats linked to political violence as the country approached the elections.
“During the Street Imbizo, community members had the opportunity to express some of their policing concerns and needs to the Minister, Deputy Minister Cassel Mathale, Gauteng Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Faith Mazibuko and the SAPS management team from both the province and national.”
Raised sharply by the communities during the engagement was the increase in contact and gender-based violence related crimes.
“Some community members also spoke out about their security concerns following the murder of a ward councillor in Mabopane,” ministry spokesperson, Lirandzu Themba, said in the statement.
She said Cele assured residents that politicians using criminals to influence democratic processes could not and would not be tolerated.
Said Cele: “There are people who want to be councillors, not on behalf of the people in the community but on behalf of criminal syndicates so that the thugs they serve can continue to terrorise and extort businesses in the area.”
He said there were also politicians who were trying to have their preferred candidates contest elections and believe using violence and intimidation tactics, hoping this tactic will work.
“It won’t. We are going hard on this phenomenon. The SAPS and the detective team that has been appointed will ensure that everyone who is involved in these crimes is dealt with accordingly.”
The community engagement also saw residents call on the police to bring services closer to them. A mobile police station in the Kopanong area has now been opened following the Imbizo. This station will service the growing informal settlement, along with the existing police station in Mamelodi East.
In addition, Tactical Response Teams have also been deployed as force multipliers in both Mamelodi, Mabopane and surrounding areas.
The Police Ministry said it is encouraged by the deployment and believes the additional boots on the ground will go a long way in dealing with tension and threats before, during and after the November elections.