Pretoria: Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has committed to visiting a number of communities across the country to check whether the complaints raised by residents during previous meetings have been addressed.
The minister announced this during a community participation event held at the Bilanyoni Community Hall in Paulpietersburg in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.
The minister said he would undertake a nation-wide programme of follow up visits with those communities he had already been to over the past few months. He is expected to complete the visits this month.
Speaking on Tuesday, the minister said they had been crisscrossing the country interacting directly with different communities to encourage their involvement in the fight against crime.
“Our visits have assisted us to understand some of their frustrations when it comes to issues of safety. During such visits, we brought along the provincial management as well as various cluster commanders precisely to ensure that as the issues were raised, immediate responses must be provided so that at the end of the day, there is accountability and responsibility.”
He said they had undertaken such programmes so that there should not be a gap between police and communities.
“By creating any such gap, we would be allowing criminals to occupy that space and we cannot allow that situation. We are encouraged to hear of good progress registered in areas we have visited.”
Mthethwa will also conduct unannounced visits to police stations to monitor service delivery. The minister said action would be taken against officers who are found not performing.
However, he said that it should not take a visit by the minister before service delivery occurs. “Police stations must not be refurbished or victims of crimes treated with courtesy because we are about to visit that particular area. When it comes to the safety of our communities, police must be responsive on time, on an on-going basis, we do not need short cuts,” said the minister.
He urged members of the community to play an active role in helping police fight crime as he could not visit every police station.
Bilanyoni is one of the rural settlements which has been identified as a hotspot with 23 percent of all crime reported at the Paulpietersburg police station coming from this area.
On Tuesday, the community called on the minister to build a complete police station. Currently there is only a satellite station.