PE residents want police station commander removed

Protesters allege corruption and incompetence at Motherwell SAPS

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Photo of protesters
Residents, mostly from Shukushukuma informal settlement, protest outside the Motherwell police station on Thursday. Photo: Joseph Chirume

More than 120 angry residents protested outside the Motherwell police station in Port Elizabeth on Thursday. They demanded that station commander Brigadier Michael Solani be transferred immediately.

The protesters wanted to hand over a petition to Motherwell cluster commander Major General Dawie Rabie, but he was not there to receive it.

The residents claim that the police are corrupt, that they fail to arrest known criminals and fail to turn up when called to a crime scene.

Protesters sung, “What did Nomathemba do to die? Bring back Nomathemba”, referring to the rape and murder of 60-year-old Nomathemba Goliath, who was killed in February in her home in Shukushukuma. After the murder, two suspects were stoned to death and burnt by community members.

The area has seen several mob justice murders in past weeks. Residents said if police minister Bheki Cele failed to address police incompetence, mob justice killings would escalate.

Jack Kilani, 63, said, “There are times the police give an excuse that there are no vans to attend to a crime scene. But we see some vans belonging to the Motherwell police station in far away suburbs doing private business. People are being raped and robbed while police talk of lack of vans.”

Nozipho Myataza, 68, who lives in a shack in Powerline informal settlement, said, “We know these criminals but they are always free. They are kicking open our doors despite that Powerline settlement is on the doorsteps of the police station … How can they rape a woman the age of their grandmother? I support mob killings. They should be burned and die a painful death.”

Mbulelo Taaibos said, “As a community we hunted down the murderers only to discover that they were known to us and to the police. We are here to tell the police that we are tired of their poor service. Some of the police officers are friends to criminals while others use these criminals to sell their drugs … This police station is very corrupt.”

“An innocent person was killed recently by the community after being falsely accused of raping a minor. This is why we don’t want mob killings to continue but people are angry at the lack of effective police presence and thorough investigations,” said Taaibos.

Taaibos also accused Nomawethu Jama, the Motherwell Police Station Community Policing Forum chairperson, of failing the community and sabotaging the march.

Jama replied: “It seems the cluster commander did not get the information. The community now blame me, but I sent the message through our protocol channel. The relevant person did not pass the message to the cluster commander. I am working as a bridge between the community and the police, so I cannot sabotage them.”

GroundUp tried several times by various means to reach police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge. We were unsuccessful.

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TOPICS:  Policing

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