OPINIONS_5

OPINIONS

Police visibility in reduction and combating
crime in rural villages

RAMOKOTONG MOLAOTSE

23 August 2020

Growing up in the dusty and rural village of Lefiso has been a great upbringing because as young boys and girls our main interest has been school and sports. We are grateful to have been brought up without experiencing crimes in our community or neighbouring communities which could have influenced us in a negative way.

However, it sadness one, years later to either experience or learn about criminal activities as and when they occur in our peaceful communities. As we grow older and human evolution, the community also grows in numbers in terms of population and a number of things change. Lack of economic activities and empowerment makes our youth resort to criminal activities.

Lack of Police visibility, nearby police stations or police satellites stations or community policing forums, makes it convenient for perpetrators to continue terrorising and disturbing the peace in our communities. The surrounding communities, Lefiso, Lefiswane, Radijoko, Ditlhagane and Ga Maria all rely on a satellite police station at Marapyane which is approximately 15kms away from the mentioned communities. Furthermore, Malebitsa and Spitspunt which are communities adjacent to Lefiso rely on Matlerekeng Police Station which is approximately 20 kms away from both the communities respectively.

Related crimes in our communities includes theft of livestock, crime against the vulnerable (women, children, elderly and disabled), domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual offences and illegal practices. Should there be police visibility or community policing forum working closely with the SAPS, or a nearby satellite police stations servicing our people as part of service delivery, the number of related criminal activities happening would be less than as they are.  

Police stations or satellite police stations in rural areas will serve the following purpose:

  • Ensure intelligence drive patrols in sectors and hot spot
  • Conduct roadblocks based on analysis of available information
  • Enhance public safety awareness
  • Conduct intelligence driven awareness

In 2015, the South African Police Service (SAPS) presented its Rural Safety Strategy Implementation plan to the Portfolio Committee on Police and the objectives of the SAPS Rural Safety Strategy includes:

  • Enhance policing and accessibility to the rural community
  • Improve safety and security within the entire rural development
  • Adopt an integrated approach in addressing rural safety and
  • Establish improved systems to address crime in rural areas[1].

A nearby police station satellite would be best suitable at either one of the above mentioned villages and it will ensure improved service delivery, convenient when reporting crimes, reporting domestic violence and to be a refuge centre for victims of GBV or sexual offences victims. Furthermore, a nearby satellite police station will ensure that the police would respond in time when called to crime scenes, or when there is death in the family. It will also bring growth, safety and security within people in the community, job creation, bringing service delivery to the people and limit mob justice and the community taking the law in their own hands.

The office of the Mpumalanga MEC for Safety, Security and Liaison, through government imbizo’s or lekgotla may play a vital role in hearing the community’s concerns and towards establishment of such satellite offices in the near future.  Police visibility is important in the fight and combating of crime. If, the above-mentioned communities can vote during local elections, form wards councils therefore, certainly they deserve improved service delivery and either police station or police stations satellite.

Ramokotong Molaotse is a University of Johannesburg alumnus currently studying at UNISA, furthermore he is a social long distance runner.