GEORGE NEWS - The national Minister of Police, Bheki Cele, listened to a number of complaints and concerns with regards to policing from the community of the Southern Cape during an imbizo held at the Thembalethu Stadium on Friday 29 March.
The imbizo was organised by the police ministry to address crime and policing matters in the region and for the minister to take note of the issues they are experiencing in their communities.
Issues raised by community members ranged from corrupt police, a shortage of police vehicles and the visibility of police in communities, particularly in crime hotspots. They also demanded that more police be deployed in the communities. The minister promised to follow up on these issues and find ways to solve them. In his address, Cele asked people to respect the rights of women and appealed to the police to take cases of rape seriously. He said police must stop trying to negotiate when women report cases of domestic violence at police stations. He said women are at risk of being killed as a result of police turning them away and telling them to go back and try to resolve issues with their partners.
"We are not negotiators, we are a law organ. Women and children must be protected at all costs. When they come to report cases of rape, don't judge them by the way they are dressed; its none of your business. It should be [considered] the worse crime if women and children are not protected," said Cele. He added that even in the police, servicewomen must be protected and not be viewed as sex objects by their male colleagues.
"Women must be human beings, women must be free, women must make decisions, women must walk tall," he said. He said all unlicensed shebeens should be shut down as they are breeding grounds for crime and a variety of societal ills.
Xolisani Booi, chairman of the George Community Forum, took advantage of the opportunity presented by the imbizo to ask the minister to deliver a letter to the Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande. He said the letter addressed ongoing public transport issues in George.