Alexandra inquiry: Land grabbers will be arrested, says police boss

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National police commissioner General Khehla Sitole warned that people behind rampant land occupations in Gauteng would be arrested.

Sitole was testifying during the Alexandra inquiry, hosted by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) in Johannesburg.

He told the commission that the SA Police Service (SAPS) was investigating possible violations of basic human rights in the area and that 26 people were arrested in Alexandra for land occupations.

“Land invasion is a crime and should be treated as a crime. We are treating land invasions and illegal occupations of RDP houses as a criminal offence. We encourage communities to report such activities at our police stations,” Sitole said.

News24 recently reported on the mushrooming of land occupations in the township and other parts in Gauteng.

Sitole said Operation Okae Molao, implemented in Gauteng, assisted to reduce crime in the township.

“Additional resources have been made available to the Alexandra police station. The station is currently at the crime stabilisation phase. Once satisfied with the stabilisation phase, we will implement the normalisation phase,” he said.

Sitole urged Gauteng Premier David Makhura to hold a provincial crime summit and invite all stakeholders, including metro police officers, to participate.

He said all police stations in the country had their own profiles and that the Alexandra police station was not among the troubled police stations in the country although the station had a population growth challenge.

READ: City of Johannesburg tells Alexandra inquiry that it is delivering

“On the Alexandra police station profile, we have established that the population in the area is growing. It has increased from 177 000 to 211 111. As the profile grows, it grows with resources. We have assembled a resources team to look at population ratio in all police stations in the country.

“We will design a personnel plan to assist with resources and physical resources at each police station, including Alexandra.” 

He promised that some trainee police officers at police academies would also be deployed to the area.

“We are sufficiently equipped with law enforcement, but can’t deal with the root causes of crime.”

“Some by-laws are outdated and criminals are taking advantage of that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko , who was also at the inquiry, testified that she had deployed 10 Gauteng traffic saturation officers to Alexandra to assist the police and Johannesburg Metro Police Department.

Mazibuko said they were implementing monthly announced and unannounced visits into the area.

“We work with the Alexandra police station and it is not among the underperforming police stations in the province. We need to look at the allocation of resources in Alexandra and elsewhere.

“One of the challenges in Alexandra is lawlessness of illegal invasions where police vehicles can’t access some parts of the township… By-laws that are not implemented also contribute to crime,” she said.

Mazibuko complained that it was difficult for police vehicles and ambulance to access some streets in the area.





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