Operation Shanela Tightens Crime Control in Northern Cape

KIMBERLEY – Operation Shanela, a multi-disciplinary high-density initiative, continues to assert the authority of the state in the Northern Cape through its ongoing weekly operations. The operation, focused on crime prevention and combat, ran from Thursday, 16 November to Sunday, 19 November 2023.

According to South African Police Service, these operations, driven by tactical intelligence and involving various South African Police Service (SAPS) Units, District offices, and police stations, were conducted in collaboration with numerous agencies, including the South African Revenue Service (SARS), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Social Development, and Municipalities across all districts. Collectively, they executed 1,452 actions to address priority crimes in hotspot areas.

During the operation, law enforcement agencies carried out a variety of actions, including random stops and searches, resulting in 5,792 persons and 2,545 vehicles being searched. High visibility patrols, vehicle checkpoints, roadblocks, and visits to farms and mines were also part of the operation.

A notable success was achieved in the Frances Baard district where an intelligence-led operation led to the confiscation of contaminated fuel valued at R1 million from depots. Additionally, 252 suspects were arrested for a range of offenses including illicit mining, undocumented immigration, drug dealing, possession of illegal cigarettes, illegal liquor trading, possession of counterfeit goods, possession of drugs, robberies, assaults, housebreaking, theft, malicious damage to property, and driving under the influence.

Detectives also made significant strides by tracing and arresting 111 daily wanted suspects implicated in various crimes such as murder, rape, and assault. Seizures during the operations included alcoholic beverages, dangerous weapons, drugs like crystal meth, tik, dagga, mandrax, and cash.

The team further intensified efforts at general dealers and wholesale outlets, leading to the remarkable confiscation of illicit cigarettes, tobacco products, and expired goods valued at nearly R20 million. In total, 211 compliance inspections were conducted at various businesses including tuck shops, liquor outlets, second-hand goods dealers, and scrap metal dealers.

The Provincial Commissioner of the Northern Cape, Lieutenant General Koliswa Otola, commended the collaborative efforts of the law enforcement agencies for the successful arrests and confiscations. She reiterated the SAPS’s commitment during the launch of the Safer Festive Season Operation in Upington, asserting that increased police presence and fortified efforts will ensure community safety and security during the festive season and beyond.

Western Cape Police Seek Public Help to Identify Human Remains

WESTERN CAPE – In a collaborative effort between the South African Police Service in the Western Cape and the Western Cape Department of Health’s Forensic Pathology Services, a project is underway to identify unidentified human remains through digital facial reconstruction. As part of this initiative, identikits have been released to help ascertain the identities of persons whose remains were found between 2020 and 2022 in various locations, including Philippi East, Mitchell’s Plain, Mowbray, and Lentegeur.

According to South African Police Service, the police urge anyone who may recognize individuals from the released identikits or has relevant information to contact Detective Sergeant Yolande van der Merwe at 082 411 3808. This effort is crucial in solving cases and providing closure to families of missing persons.

Western Cape to Present 2nd Quarter Crime Statistics

WESTERN CAPE – The Western Cape Provincial Commissioner, Lt General TE Patekile, alongside the MEC for Police Oversight and Community Safety, Mr. Reagan Allen, will present the provincial crime statistics for the 2nd quarter of the 2023/2024 financial year. This briefing follows the release of the 2nd Quarter Crime Statistics by the Minister of Police, General BH Cele, on Friday, 17 November 2023, in Pretoria.

According to South African Police Service, Media representatives are invited to attend the briefing, which is scheduled for Monday, 20 November 2023. The venue for the event is the 6th Floor Boardroom of the SAPS Provincial Office, located at 25 Alfred Street, Green Point. The briefing is set to commence at 10:00.

Nine Arrested for Stock Theft in North West Province, South Africa

POTCHEFSTROOM – In a series of operations against stock theft, the North West Province Police in South Africa have arrested nine suspects in three separate incidents. These arrests, made between Wednesday, 15 and Friday, 17 November 2023, mark a significant crackdown on stock theft in the region.

According to South African Police Service, the first incident occurred on the morning of Wednesday, 15 November, when 160 sheep were allegedly stolen from a farm in Hartbeesfontein. The theft involved four suspects, including a former employee of the farm. Following a coordinated effort by the local police and Safety Watch, all the sheep were recovered, and two suspects were later apprehended. Matshidiso Mokopela (23) and Motseothatha Daniel Moreo (21) were arrested and appeared before the Klerksdorp Magistrates’ Court on Friday, 17 November. Both suspects were remanded in custody pending their next court appearance on 24 November.

In a separate incident on Thursday, 16 November, a farmer in Biesiesvlei responded to a neighbor’s alert about unusual noises coming from his kraal. He discovered a breach in the fence and missing livestock. The community’s pursuit of a suspicious vehicle resulted in the recovery of stolen goats and sheep and the arrest of one suspect. Further investigations by the Sannieshof Stock Theft and Endangered Species Unit (STES) led to another arrest. The two apprehended individuals, aged 24 and 25, are set to appear before the Lichtenburg Magistrates’ Court on charges of stock theft.

The third incident unfolded on Friday, 17 November, when police, acting on a tip, intercepted a silver Mitsubishi vehicle carrying stolen sheep on the N12 road between Wolmaransstad and Bloemhof. The vehicle’s four occupants were arrested, and subsequent searches led to more arrests and the discovery of five sheep carcasses. A total of five suspects, aged between 25 and 36, are expected to face charges in the Wolmaransstad Magistrates’ Court.

Lieutenant General Sello Kwena, the North West Police Commissioner, lauded the collaborative efforts of the police teams and community members that led to these arrests. He emphasized the importance of community involvement in combating crime and urged farmers to comply with the Animal Identification Act for better tracking of livestock. These arrests are a part of ongoing efforts to deter stock theft in the region and safeguard the agricultural community.

Central Kenya Elders and Religious Leaders Clash Over Circumcision Rites

Central Kenya – Tension is rising in Central Kenya between some cultural elders and religious leaders over the traditional circumcision ceremonies of young boys. The Kikuyu elders, known as Kiama Kia ma, have voiced concerns that religious leaders have encroached upon their traditional role in overseeing these rites of passage.

According to Kenya News Agency, Ng’ang’a wa Kiarie, the Chairman of the Thika Sub County Kiama kia ma, stated that the church has overreached by taking over the circumcision ceremonies, which have historically been under the elders’ purview. According to Kiarie, the elders believe that these rituals should remain a cultural matter, with the church focusing on spiritual guidance. He expressed these views during a ceremony in Thika, where over 500 boys transitioned into manhood.

“Circumcision has always been a strict cultural issue, fully understood and overseen by elders,” said Kiarie. He emphasized the importance of pastors concentrating on spiritual matters and leaving cultural rituals to the elders.

Another elder, Njuguna Musembi, highlighted the sacredness of the circumcision stage in a boy’s life within the Kikuyu culture. He argued that these rites require careful observation and should be managed exclusively by elders. Musembi accused the church of being financially motivated in their involvement in these cultural practices.

The issue has also drawn the attention of local government officials. Kiambu Deputy Speaker John Njiru called for governmental investigation into incidents where elders have allegedly misguided young boys into engaging in illicit sexual activities, drug use, and alcoholism following their transition into manhood. Njiru’s statement comes amid allegations from female sex workers in Thika town that some elders have been linking them with young boys as part of the transition into manhood.

“We respect the role of good elders who adhere to cultural practices and advise initiates against indiscipline. However, those engaging in dangerous activities will face legal consequences,” Njiru, also the Hospital Ward MCA, asserted.

This brewing conflict highlights the complex interplay between cultural practices and religious influences in Central Kenya, particularly regarding significant rites of passage like circumcision.