Police officers have been dispatched to shopping centres, malls, freeways and other hotspots to patrol these areas as part of the Safer Festive Season campaign, which aims to intensify police visibility.
Citizens can also expect a number of roadblocks and stop-and-search operations as a means of ensuring that people in Gauteng are and feel safe this time of the year.
“There will be visible policing across Gauteng. I want South Africans to feel safe during this festive season. I also want to request South Africans to be patient with the police and to plan their trips carefully as roadblocks and stop-and-search operations will be the norm this festive season,” Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said on Tuesday.
The Minister, together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) top brass, including the new National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole, visited Maponya and Sandton City malls to raise awareness about safety and security.
General Sitole expressed the importance of a safer South Africa to create an environment conducive to economic growth.
Senior police management interacted with community patrollers, who serve as a force multiplier and contribute immensely to the safety of Gautengers.
“Thank you very much for your contribution to keeping our people safe. You contribute your time as patrollers for the safety of your fellow South Africans,” Minister Mbalula said.
The Safer Festive Season operations held in the province on Monday night alone saw detectives in the province arresting 361 suspects for serious crimes that included murder and house robbery. There are also 24 criminals in prison to be requisitioned for further charges. Most of the arrested suspects were repeat offenders.
Those arrested include known criminal Musa Cindi, who was arrested on an apprehension order. He will now start his prison sentence linked to an OR Tambo International Airport case.
Two of the arrested also include Wits University students, who burned a police vehicle. They were sentenced to six years direct imprisonment.
Minister Mbalula said their conviction should serve as a clear message to all criminals that police “represent the State, and undermining the police and their property will never be tolerated.”
“People must protest within the ambit of the law,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Alexandra balaclava rapist Sinja Mabitsela was handed 32 life terms in prison plus 270 years. Mabitsela was found guilty of 23 counts of rape, five counts of robbery with aggravating circumstances and two counts of kidnapping.
“I am glad that our courts don’t have mercy on criminals who brutalise our women and children. I am calling upon communities to report all criminals who terrorise our communities, in particular, the women of our country,” Minister Mbalula said.