National Commissioner of Police, General Khehla Sitole, urged police officers around the country to “continue stamping the authority of the state” after the public attacked policemen while they were shutting down illegal shebeens.

Sithole made the call after communities in areas in Gauteng and the North West Province mobilised against police officers while they were raiding illegal shebeens at the weekend.

SERGEANT SEVERELY ASSAULTED WITH STONES

SAPS spokesperson Vish Naidoo said that in the first incident at about 2 am on Friday 12 March 2021, a sergeant stationed at Garsfontein police station was severely assaulted with stones by residents of the Plastic View Informal Settlement while the police were closing illegal shebeens. 

“The Sergeant was admitted to a local hospital where he received multiple stitches to open wounds to his head,” Naidoo said.

In the second in Jouberton area in the North West Province on Friday police were conducting routine crime prevention duties which included closing of shebeens. 

“They had responded to a tip-off about a house where a large quantity of alcohol was being stored and sold. Police raided the house but the owner fled,” Naidoo said. 

“While the police were loading the liqour into a police vehicle, the community quickly mobilised, stormed the police van and started removing the liqour from the van. The police drove off to the police station with about half of the liqour remaining in the vehicle. In the middle of the scuffle a suspect was seen throwing a bottle at the police bakkie, damaging it,” Naidoo said.

72-HOUR ACTIVATION PLAN

Naidoo said Sithole had instructed provincial commissioners to mobilise the 72 hour activation plan, identify the culprits who assaulted and obstructed police in the execution of their duties and bring them to book. 

“The National Commissioner has also called on police officers to remain resolute during operations which serves to ensure that criminal activities are dealt with decisively and that people are and feel safe,” Naidoo said.

He said a docket of malicious damage to property had been opened and a charge of incitement of violence and disturbing police in the execution of their duties would also be opened.

Sithole condemned the acts of violence.

“The acts by these respective communities are unacceptable and should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. It is common knowledge that alcohol has been one of the biggest generators of contact crimes including gender-based violence and femicide and communities should be rallying together against the illegal sale of such,” Sithole said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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