Sakhiseni Nxumalo
Senior journalist
3 minute read
21 Feb 2022

81 arrested in weekend raids in KZN’s uMgungundlovu

Sakhiseni Nxumalo

A total of 81 people were arrested during police raids on hotspots around the uMgungundlovu District on Saturday night.

A total of 81 people were arrested during police raids on hotspots around the uMgungundlovu District on Saturday night. The operations involved police officers from across the province as well as various units in the SAPS.

KwaZulu-Natal provincial police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Nqobile Gwala, on Sunday said the operations had started at 4 pm and continued until midnight.

Gwala said the Plessislaer policing area was identified as one experiencing high levels of contact crimes which had also claimed many lives.

During Friday’s release of the quarterly crime stats, Plessislaer Police Station recorded yet another increase in murders and attempted murders for the period of October to December 2021. It was also ranked in the top five in the country for these crimes. In addition, the policing area was ranked number one in KZN when it comes to contact crime and number four in the country.

Police come under fire

On Sunday Gwala said police deployments put in place last year, had resulted in many arrests and recoveries.

“High calibre firearms have been seized from the hands of suspects.

“During the operations, police found themselves caught in gunfire with suspects who did not want to surrender themselves. We will not allow criminals to terrorise our community and roam free on our streets,” said Gwala.

She said those arrested on Saturday were charged for different offences such as unlawful possession of firearms, robbery, and rape.

There were also people charged with attempted murder, stock theft, theft, possession of drugs, possession of dangerous weapons, dealing in liquor, malicious damage to property, and other crimes, said Gwala.

She said stop and searches were conducted where traffic fines were issued to drivers who were not complying with the National Traffic Act.

“Undocumented people were also arrested during the operations. All the arrested suspects will appear at the various magistrates’ courts in the uMgungundlovu District,” said Gwala.

Call for operations to be ongoing

The Msunduzi Association of Residents, Ratepayers and Civics (Marrc) welcomed the law enforcment operation saying such activities were needed to fight escalating crime in the district. Anthony Waldhausen, chairperson of Marrc, said such operations should be ongoing, especially in areas that experience a high crime rate.

“There is a need for a long term strategic plan on how to deal with crime-related issues. From the released stats, it clearly indicates the hotspot areas that the police should focus on and here in Msunduzi, they need to focus on Pietermaritzburg’s Loop Street and Plessislaer policing areas,” said Waldhausen.

He said once crime had been stabilised in those areas, it would be easy to manage other areas.

He said the municipality also needed to come to the party and play their role by ensuring that all the areas in the city had streetlights.

Kantha Naidoo from Business Fighting Crime in Pietermaritzburg and Loop Street Community Police Forum, echoed his sentiments saying such operations need to be a regular occurrence.

She said these focused operations and walkabouts by law enforcement around the city would play a major role in deterring crime.

Crime pushing business out of city

According to Naidoo, crime in Pietermaritzburg had escalated so much that investment and businesses were pulling out of the city. “I will be meeting the SAPS this week to address the issue of crime in the city again. It’s ridiculous how serious it has become.

“You can’t expect businesses to trade under such conditions where there are drug addicts outside business premises.

“What is more concerning is that they break into, sleep, and smoke outside business premises [thereby causing them to become run down].” said Naidoo.