Col Mpe Lobisi Motaung is now leading as station commander at Cleveland SAPS.
Appointed in July this year he told the EXPRESS that he will be using different strategies to reduce crime in the precinct.
“I was a station commander at Yeoville SAPS prior to being appointed at Cleveland. While I was there, I realised that there was no healthy working relationship between the community and the police. I started calling public meetings but the attendance was very poor. I wanted to know why the community did not attend meetings.
“One of the SAPS members I worked with at the time advised me to invite community leaders representing the various nationalities in the area. I invited leaders representing communities from Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and formed forums.
“These community leaders are the ones who influenced people in the community to attend community meetings and we worked together with residents. Through such forums, the community was able to identify those who were found on the wrong side of the law. It was through those forums that crime decreased in the precinct,” he said.
Motaung told the EXPRESS that he will use the same strategy of working with the community to fight crime.
“When I first got here, the first thing that I looked at was a good working relationship between SAPS and the community.
“I asked myself if the residents are involved in fighting against crime. We as the SAPS cannot do policing in isolation. For us to be successful in the eradication of bringing crime down we need the involvement of the community,” he said.
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He said preventing crime is not about how many patrol vehicles the station has.
“If the community does not take part in the prevention of crime, the station can have 100 patrolling vehicles but there will always be a shortage. If you are a member of the community and crime is perpetrated in your presence you must call the police. I am not saying the residents must risk their lives while reporting a crime.
“I have already met with the chairperson of the Cleveland Community Police Forum and the entire executive. I told them that I am mobilising the community through the CPF.
“We have the major body which is the CPF and we also have sector crime forum meetings. I told them that we need to revive the sector forum meetings. At sector crime forum meetings only crime must be discussed. The forum is established to fight crime in the areas so they must play an active role in the prevention against crime,” he said.
Motaung said the station has already established street patrollers and they need volunteer street patrollers so that they can work closely with them to fight crime.
“We also want to establish street committees for each and every street. We will forward their names to the Gauteng Department of Community Safety that will make sure that street patrollers are given a uniform. They will also arrange training and train them. I will look into the issue of police reservists. By doing this I am certain that crime will decrease in the Cleveland SAPS precinct,” he said.
Motaung told the EXPRESS that the station needs a permanent solution when it comes to drugs.
“We will arrest everyone who is dealing in drugs especially the kingpins. It is pointless that you arrest the runners who work for the kingpins. In fact, it is very easy to arrest the runners because the kingpins can always get other runners. I am not saying that we won’t arrest any runners. We need to arrest those kingpins and in order to do so, the community members must help us by identifying them and the people who bring them in our area.
“We also have crime intelligence that is tackling drug problems in our area. They work together with the community to identify the kingpins. They help us to identify the drugs outlets. The visible policing unit will continue to conduct operations. If a drug outlet is identified, we will involve the forfeiture asset unit. If a suspect bought property with the money that was obtained illegally, the property will be confiscated. It is a lengthy process which involves the courts but we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that crime decreases,” he said.
He pleaded with residents to stop taking the law into their own hands.
He referred to the incident where Mangolongolo informal settlement residents beat and stoned a man to death on September 1.
It had been alleged he raped and killed a girl of two years old.
“We don’t want that. Yes, we want to work hand in hand with the community but we don’t want the community to take the law into their own hands,” he said.
After matriculating at Tshibollo in 1984, Motaung joined the SAPS in March 1986 at Standerton SAPS at what was then called Eastern Transvaal as a student Constable.
“In 1987, I was transferred to Warden SAPS as a Constable. I was responsible for crime prevention. In 1988 I was transferred to Jeppe SAPS under the same rank. The same year I was promoted to Sergeant. I then decided to go back to school to enrol for a national diploma in police administration at Technikon South Africa,” he said.
He progressed through the ranks and in March 2005 he was promoted to the rank of a Colonel, a position he still holds today.