It’s been an up-and-down weekend for City enforcement staff who arrested more than 70 suspects while holding land invaders at bay and delivering a baby in the process. Read more below:
The City of Cape Town’s enforcement agencies had their hands full over the last four or five days, courtesy of the taxi-related violence in the Milnerton area, followed by the attempted land invasion in Dunoon. This, while trying to get Operation Exodus up and running and conducting general enforcement operations.
Overall, 72 suspects were arrested including 36 for drunk driving; 14 for possession of drugs; two on charges of robbery; and a record 11 for reckless and negligent driving during a single enforcement operation focusing on illegal street racing.In one incident, an officer attached to Traffic Services’ Ghost Squad arrested a suspect on the N7 in the vicinity of Potsdam Road just after midday on Monday 21 March 2016 after his vehicle collided with another vehicle and the suspect tried to flee the scene. The suspect faces charges of reckless and negligent driving, drunk driving, fleeing the scene of an accident and resisting arrest.
‘Our staff made a number of good arrests, but our enforcement plans were affected by the scenes of public violence in Dunoon as well as Elsies River where our firefighters came under attack while responding to violence associated with a funeral in the area. The number of protests and other incidents of public violence really do take their toll on us, but I commend the staff for pushing through in spite of the hostility and pressure that they are under,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
As a result of the violence in Dunoon, an ambulance could not get to a 29-year-old woman in labour in the area early this morning, 22 March 2016. Metro Police officer, Constable Abdullah Fisher, who was on duty in the area was alerted to the situation and promptly made his way to the woman’s house – escorted by two of his colleagues, Constable Philiswa Mayekiso and Acting Sergeant Brydon Hoffman – to deliver her baby. The officers then transported mother and baby to the ambulance waiting on the outskirts of Dunoon to transport them to Somerset Hospital.
‘I’m happy that this situation turned out in this manner and that our staff were on point, going above and beyond the call of duty. However, this also illustrates the widespread knock-on effects of public unrest where law-abiding residents are denied basic rights like access to an ambulance because of the actions of a few,’ added Alderman Smith.
Operation Exodus saw safety checks completed on 168 buses and minibuses in its first four days. Officers conducting the checks also arrested three drivers for being under the influence of alcohol.
‘I sincerely hope that those drivers were not heading out on long-distance trips when they were caught, because that would be a smack in the face of the commuters who rely on public transport operators to get them home safely for the holidays. We are taking a lot of flak from some sectors of the industry for these checks. What they fail to realise is that we wouldn’t have to take such a hard line if they all treated their customers and other road users with respect by making sure they’re fit to be behind the wheel and that their vehicles are up to scratch too,’ said Alderman Smith.