What started out as policing of mostly routine traffic transgressions turned into more than just a ticket for six suspects who were netted for far more. Read more below:
The City of Cape Town’s enforcement agencies made six arrests in the last few days which each started out with officers observing the suspects committing traffic transgressions.
Yesterday, 2 April 2017, the Law Enforcement Marine Unit arrested a 33-year-old suspect for possession of a suspected stolen motorcycle and an imitation firearm in Ocean View. The officers’ attention was piqued when they noticed the suspect and his passenger riding by without helmets. They pulled them over and found that both the scooter and driver were unlicensed. It was then that officers also recovered the imitation firearm.On Wednesday 29 March 2017, Metro Police officers spotted a vehicle running a red light in Ottery. They followed the vehicle, but the driver sped up and led them on a chase through Philippi. First, he collided with another vehicle in Schaapkraal and then hit two more vehicles at the intersection of Govan Mbeki and Sheffield Roads. The four occupants bolted from the stationary vehicle and one of them opened fire on the officers as he tried to get away. The Metro Police officers caught one of the suspects and Nyanga police caught a second. They were arrested for attempted murder and reckless and negligent driving.
On Thursday afternoon, 30 March 2017, two City traffic officers were traveling along Okavango Drive in Brackenfell when they spotted the driver of a green Kia Shuma making an illegal U-turn. The officers pulled the vehicle over and, while one of them was interviewing the driver, his partner noticed that the two passengers appeared nervous. He asked the passenger in the back seat to step out of the vehicle and, while searching him, spotted a tog bag on the seat. When he asked what was in the bag, the man refused to answer. A search of the bag revealed five large parcels of dagga, later determined to weigh 5,4 kg. The three suspects aged 19, 31 and 37, were arrested and detained at the Brackenfell police station for illegal possession of narcotics.
‘I know that many in the public domain have a level of disrespect for traffic law enforcement, but these arrests are examples of how a random traffic stop could result in having much bigger fish to fry. It is one of the reasons why the City set up a dedicated roadblock unit last year – to track down motorists with outstanding warrants of arrest, but also to clamp down on the transportation of contraband and other illegal activities that are often detected during a traffic stop,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security; and Social Services, Alderman JP Smith.
Elsewhere, the City’s Traffic Service had a busy week, with numerous operations including Operation Restore. Officers arrested 35 suspects during these operations including 84 for outstanding warrants, 13 for reckless and negligent driving, and 48 for drunk driving. A total of 171 other motorists were let off on a warning, while warrants were served on 633 others. Officers also impounded 25 minibus- and sedan-taxis and issued 4 687 fines.
Meanwhile, it was a blue Monday for a 19-year-old suspect when he was arrested for possession of fraudulent documents. The man had tried to make a booking at the Milnerton Driving Licence Testing Centre for a C1 truck licence. The staff member at the help desk became suspicious when the suspect handed over his learner’s licence, which appeared to have been photocopied, and double-checked his credentials on eNaTIS. It quickly became apparent that the suspect did not have a learner’s licence and that the document in his possession was fake. He was arrested and detained at the Milnerton police station.
This case comes just a few weeks after another licence fraud attempt fell flat at the Durbanville Driving Licence Testing Centre, resulting in the arrest of two friends. Officials noticed that the person writing the learner licence test was not the original applicant. The testing centre manager investigated and discovered that the applicant (who was waiting outside) had asked a friend to write the test on his behalf as he has a sight issue and was not adequately prepared to complete the written test himself. The two suspects were arrested on a charge of fraud and detained at the Durbanville police station. They were granted bail of R2 000 each and will appear in court again on 10 April 2017.
On Wednesday 28 March 2017, Law Enforcement officers in the Gugulethu area caught a truck driver in the act of illegally disposing of waste at the Luyolo Centre. He immediately had his truck impounded and was slapped with a fine of R5 000. On the same day, an officer on patrol in the Oranjekloof area in Cape Town observed a woman being attacked by a man who stole her cellphone and earphones. The officer gave chase and caught the suspect a short while later, fighting off the suspect who tried to stab him with the knife he had used in the robbery.
On Friday 31 March 2017, Law Enforcement Marine Unit members arrested a 42-year-old suspect in Steenberg for illegal possession of 691 West Coast rock lobster tails.
The Metro Police Department arrested 22 suspects – 10 for driving under the influence of alcohol, 9 for possession of drugs, and 3 for possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition in Hanover Park and Manenberg.
The Department also held a number of social crime prevention initiatives, including a public safety awareness exhibition at Parow Centre and a child safety camp at Princess Vlei for children between the ages of 11 and 14 focusing on children’s rights, child abuse, bullying and peer pressure. In Gordon’s Bay, the Metro Police neighbourhood safety officers held an information session and market day in Temperance Town, featuring a drug awareness dog show by the K9 Unit and a visit from the Metro Police mascot, Sergeant K9.
‘These social crime prevention activities are crucial to the City’s policing efforts. We are not only invested in enforcement, but also diverting young people from anti-social behaviour like drugs and gangsterism. In line with our Organisational Development and Transformation Plan, one of our transformational priorities is to build on our efforts to create safe communities by implementing holistic crime prevention programmes.
‘We want to educate communities about taking responsibility for their own safety. Very often the question is asked what government is doing to safeguard communities. It’s a valid question, but building safer communities is everyone’s responsibility. So, our enforcement agencies often do awareness sessions in local communities, highlighting safety tips and what residents can do in the case of an emergency. More importantly, these interactions also help to build a relationship between law enforcers and communities,’ added Alderman Smith.