by Melinda Hattingh, MPL – DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Transport, Safety & Liaison
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Date: 06 July 2018
The highly inadequate state of the police service in Ritchie is directly compromising the safety and wellbeing of residents and police officers alike.
An oversight inspection by the DA to the Modderriver and Rietvale police stations today, has exposed a work environment that is in no way conducive to the combating of crime in a town where assault, theft and robbery are high. See photo here.
Visible policing services are being rendered from the Rietvale satellite station, which is approximately 10 kilometers closer to the majority of the local population, as opposed to the slightly better resourced Modderriver police station, which is utilized largely as an administrative block.
The satellite station, however, is not adequately equipped to serve as a fully functioning police station and is dogged by countless problems.
There is no proper access control to the station, the doors don’t lock and there is inadequate lighting at night. The facility is also situated next to a tavern, increasing the risk to police officers, who have to deal with regular knife fights of drunken late night revelers, who engage in battle directly outside the station.
The facility doesn’t have any ablution facilities for members of the public. The toilet in the holding cell does not flush, causing a stink throughout the rest of the facility. See photo here. The charge office and the social crime office border directly onto the holding cell. The facility also does not have an interview room, which is especially troubling, considering that officers must take down statements for incidences of sexual assault and domestic violence, right next to the holding cell.
Furthermore, it’s hard to make an emergency call to the satellite station. You must be in possession of the cell number and landline number of Rietvale satellite station because calls are not readily diverted to the satellite station from the 10111 number.
On top of this, there is only one vehicle available for police work. This is due to two police vehicles currently being out of order for months already, supposedly with engine troubles. See photos here and here. Due to the facility not having proper holding cells, this vehicle is used to transport perpetrators to Kimberley’s holding cells. It is also used to ferry suspects, who are standing trial in Modderriver, between Kimberley and Modderriver. The vehicle is thus rarely available to attend to community complaints and emergencies, basically declaring police services null and void.
The DA will write to MEC of Safety, Lebogang Motlhaping, raising our concerns with him. An intervention is urgently required in Modderriver and Rietvale, before crime is allowed to spiral out of control and before our police officers are harmed as a result of unsafe working conditions.
Only change under a DA-led government will ensure the rendering of efficient and effective police services to all.
Melinda Hattingh, MPL
DA Northern Cape Spokesperson of Transport, Safety & Liaison
082 494 6648
Shelley De Witt
082 847 1387