When you hear a woman screaming from her home, don’t fold your arms and keep quiet because it is not the furniture that beats up that woman, Tshwane Metro police department head Lieutenant-General Johanna Nkomo has said.
Nkomo and MEC for Community Safety Faith Mazibuko were in Mabopane to launch the gender-based violence brigades programme. Of the 550 brigades in the province, 107 will be in Tshwane.
Mazibuko and Nkomo were welcomed by local women selected to fight the violence scourge in the Mabopane and surrounding communities, working together with law enforcement and the department.
Addressing the women wearing bibs from the Department of Community Safety, Mazibuko said: “You are the ones who will be searching for these men abusing women and removing them under the rock they’re hiding.
“Your job is to go door to door, you will not be sitting at home waiting for a phone call. You are going to eliminate this issue of women saying ‘I went to the police and the police were not kind to me’. I expect you to have relationships with the police and the community patrolling forums.”
Provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela, who was also at the event, said based on police data, most incidents happened behind closed doors.
He said it was for this reason that the incidents were difficult for police to deal with as the victims and the perpetrators were people who knew each other well.
Mawela said: “You are going to be our eyes and to make sure we intervene before the women going through violence and abuse are saved before they are killed or badly injured.
“However, you are also going to educate the community because education is key. They need to know that we are getting rid of this culture of men beating women and then apologising or being told they must buy a goat as a fine. We need you to let the women know that if he beats you once, he’ll beat you again, and some day he could kill you.”
The launch took place after the team led an early morning, Okae Molao anti-crime programme, focusing on the tracing of suspects wanted for gender-based violence, contact crimes, property-related crimes and other priority crimes.
Manning roadblocks were members of the SANDF, the metro police and SAPS on the entrance of Goldrush Morula Resort and Morula Shopping Centre.
Those on the wrong side of the law were handed fines and warnings and some were arrested.
Mazibuko said: “People know that there is too much lawlessness here in Gauteng, but I’m sure if they see these operations they can see that we’re enforcing the law.”
Mawela said the operation started on Wednesday evening, with police detectives spread out to search for wanted suspects in the community.
“I am happy to report that they managed to arrest 957 wanted suspects. The police specialised unit dealing in stolen vehicles have overnight managed to recover six cloned vehicles, and these are the vehicles used by criminals to commit crimes like cash-in-transit heist.”
Residents of Morula View, Nakedi Masha and Kenneth Mohlala, said they were pleased to see such massive police action in the township because criminals had been running amok, breaking into people’s homes and stealing cars.
Mohlala said: “We need these kinds of operations on a regular basis to remind the criminals that they do not own our community.
“We have a lot of informal settlements here, and some criminals have taken advantage and are using them to hide themselves and hide stolen property. This kind of police work is needed, and the police must also raid all the notorious spots.”