by Melinda Hattingh MPL – DA Spokesperson of Transport, Safety and Liaison
Date: 01 February 2018
Type: Press Statement
The DA has written to MEC of Transport, Safety and Liaison, Pauline Williams, asking for an urgent investigation into the closure of the Rietvale satellite police station in Ritchie. We have also written to the legislature portfolio committee chairperson of Safety, Mase Manopole, requesting that an oversight visit to the satellite station be scheduled as a matter of urgency.
Other than blaming “logistical reasons” for the closure of the satellite station in December last year, SAPS has remained quiet on the station closure. They have also failed to mention when, if ever, the satellite station is scheduled to reopen.
In the meantime, the Rietvale community, which is approximately 10 kilometers away from the nearest police station in Modder River, is in a state of panic.
Locals feel vulnerable and neglected by the SAPS and are threatening to take the law into their own hands. There is also no transport available to the Modder River police station for those who need to report crimes and certify documents. This in itself poses a risk to residents, who have to travel through long stretches of deserted veld by foot.
The DA considers the situation untenable.
Crime in the Northern Cape, especially in the more rural areas, is on the increase. Crimes such as common assault, assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm, burglary, drug related crime and “community-reported serious crimes” have in particular been listed as being problematic in the Ritchie/Modder River area.
The DA wants to know the exact reasons why the Rietvale satellite station was closed down and what SAPS is doing to restore police visibility within the affected community. We also want to know exactly how police resources have been allocated in the affected area, what budget pressures have led to a collapse of services that should have been planned for in a more sustainable and whether mismanagement of police resources may have had anything to do with the collapse of the satellite station.
The residents of Rietvale deserve a police service that will support them and help keep them safe, not a police service that deserts them and exposes them to opportunistic criminals.
Melinda Hattingh MPL
DA Spokesperson of Transport, Safety and Liaison
082 494 6648
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387