Police minister Bhek Cele is today expected to hold an Imbizo with the residents of Thabong in Welkom to get a clear understanding of issues affecting them in terms of safety and security.
Provincial police spokesperson Thambo told The Weekly in a brief written response that the public engagement is an opportunity for the residents of the Goldfields area to air their grievances about issues they feel need urgent attention to ensure a safer living environment.
The gold-rich area has been dogged by criminal activities over the years as a result of an increase in Zama Zama activities as well as gang related violence.
“They (residents) should expect a face to face interaction with the Minister of Police, General Cele where they would get an opportunity to voice out their concerns regarding crime related incidents in the Matjhabeng District,” said Mbambo.
The minister is expected to be accompanied by National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole, Free State Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Moeketsi Sempe and the MEC for Police Roads and Transport Sam Mashinini and the Executive Major of Matjhabeng Local Municipality Nkosenjani Speelman, among others.
“We are hoping to strengthen relations with the community where they would be more open and trusting enough to give info pertaining to perpetrators of crimes, and be encouraged to report incidents in their area,” noted Mbambo.
She added the interaction with the minister will also give the community an opportunity to suggest how they would want to see the situation being addressed so that the situation is improved.
Lt. General Sempe will also emphasise the importance of a healthy and consistent relationship between police, business people and the community.
According to Crime Statistics released in October last year year, Thabong was listed third on the list of the 10 worst precincts in the province with a total of 7 869 cases reported.
Park Road Police in Bloemfontein was first with 20 454 cases followed by the greater Welkom with 11 187 reports.
Thabong recorded 77 cases of murder, 58 cases of attempted murder, 178 sexual offences and 428 cases of assault with the intent to inflict grievous bodily harm.