Today, accompanied by DA Gauteng Leader John Moodey MPL, I visited the site of the recently demolished police station in Saulsville.
The Saulsville police station was built in 2005 but stood unoccupied until it was demolished two months ago. The station cost R53 million to build, which means millions of Rands that could have been used to make the community safer have now been thrown away by the South African Police Service (SAPS).
Before it was broken down, the station had also contributed to crime in the area.
It had been used by drug dealers and vagrants who also illegally occupied the building and sold off parts of it for money.
Due to the station standing empty for ten years, the Saulsville community have also had to rely on the Atteridgeville police station to report their crimes.
Residents claim that police officers from the Atteridgeville station seldom patrol their community, which has resulted in crime skyrocketing in the area.
The 2014/2015 crime statistics released by the South African Police Service (SAPS) reveal that in areas falling under the Atteridgeville station:
- Murder increased by 62.5% since 2013/14 – 39 people were murdered in 2014/15
- Attempted murder increased by 78.7% since 2013/14 – 108 cases were reported in 2014/15
- Common robbery increased by 42.4% since 2013/14 – with 245 cases reported in 2014/15;
- There were 716 residential burglaries reported in 2014/15 – an increase of 17.6% from 2013/14; and
- There were 75 cases of car-jacking reported in 2014/15 – an increase of 80.5% from 2013/14.
It is clear from these stats that residents in Saulsville and other areas failing under the jurisdiction of the Atteridgeville Police Station are under siege by criminals.
While these communities live in fear on a daily basis, refusing to leave their homes after dark, the leadership of SAPS have done nothing to turn this situation around and instead squandered R53 million, which could have been used to increase police resources in the area.
Questions on Saulsville police station posed in 2013 to former National Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa’s office were referred to recently axed national police spokesman Solomon Makgale, who failed to respond.
The fact that the SAPS leadership has known about the unoccupied Saulsville station but has taken no action over the past ten years shows they do not care about the safety of the community.
While crime has escalated in the area, the police allowed a building that cost R53 million to build to fall into ruin and have now simply demolished the building, despite there being a serious need for a police station in the area.
It is critical that whoever is responsible for this waste of public money is held accountable and that SAPS presents a plan on how they plan to bring down crime in Saulsville.
I will therefore be writing to the Gauteng Police Commissioner Lt-General Lesetja Mothiba requesting that he launch an urgent investigation into this matter to determine:
- Why the police building has stood unoccupied since 2005;
- Why the police have allowed the R53 million building to be occupied by vagrants and vandalised;
- What action will be taken against those responsible for this waste of public funds;
- What are the reasons for the police station being demolished in October – after standing empty for 10 years; and
- What plans are in place to bring down the high levels of crime in Saulsville in light of there not being a police station in the area.
I will be giving Lt-General Mothiba a week to respond to my questions, failing which, I will write to National Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and Acting National Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane requesting that they urgently intervene in this matter and ensure those responsible for wasting public money are held responsible.
We will not allow SAPS to sweep this matter under the carpet by simply demolishing the Saulsville police station and acting as if it never existed.
When the DA takes over Tshwane we will ensure that communities are made safer through effective law enforcement and crime prevention activities.
We are also committed to ensuring every cent of public funds is spent on improving the lives of Tshwane residents.
The DA will bring change to Tshwane. Change that stops corruption, the mismanagement of public funds and starts service delivery.
DA Tshwane Mayoral Candidate
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