The community of the crime-ridden Olievenhoutbosch in Centurion went to the local sports centre to demand the police station be closed down.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele visited the area to kick off a ministerial crime prevention imbizo and hundreds of residents gathered in the streets around the Olievenhoutbosch Sports Centre in Extension 37 to try and get a glimpse of him.
Frustrated residents, who were not allowed into the centre, said they were tired of the crime in the area.
“There’s too much crime here, people are losing their lives daily,” one resident said. “Break-ins, house break-ins, car break-ins, rape, robbery and murder, you name it,” another added.
From as early as 4pm, youngsters could be seen selling drugs on the street corners and by 6pm, women locked themselves in their houses because they feared for their lives.
“The foreigners come here with no fingerprints. It makes it easy to do crime and to kill, because they cannot be traced,” the resident added.
The tennis courts, where the imbizo took place, were secured with additional steel fences and a heavy police presence made up by officers from the Tshwane metro police department, Gauteng police, the Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, various other units and a police helicopter.
Before the minister took to the stage, a group of angry residents who were not let into the imbizo, had a standoff with police who formed a human chain to keep them out.
Initially, more people were expected to attend, but the event was downscaled due to the new lockdown regulations and restrictions on the number of people allowed at outdoor gatherings.
Many residents gave testimony on how they were affected by the crime and the bad or no police service in the area.
The Olievenhoutbosch police were described as a disgrace run by tsotsis, with residents calling for the shutdown of the station.
Cele made notes. “Ja, hey, I won’t stand here and lie, it’s not going to happen,” Cele told them.
He said he agreed with some of the residents, that there was a lot that needed to be done in a short time.
“A process has to be followed in a short time to create a situation where the community wants to work with the police,” Cele added.
Cele said that Olievenhoutbosch police station crime was ranked 47th out of 143 police stations in Gauteng.
“There are 12 police cars in the garage. All except three have been standing there since 2020. The cars must come to work,” Cele added.
Cele said there were currently 1 800 open cases at the station which were not being investigated because the station did not have detectives.
He said another meeting would be set up to put a process in place to build a better relationship with the community.
Cele added he would look at properly planned operations, adding a Community Policing Forum structure and a special task team would start with the backlog of investigations and a trace and track team would be sent to the station.
“All of us must work together to fight against crime,” Cele said.