Cops ‘squeeze the space’ in operation

Police officers search for drugs and ammunition under the bonnet of a car.

Police and law enforcement officers could be seen climbing over the front gates of houses in Beacon Valley and Eastridge during Operation Squeeze the Space in Mitchell’s Plain last week.

The aim of the operation on Friday July 27, from 4am until noon, was to clamp down on gang violence and the sale of drugs.

Sixteen houses and 56 people were searched but no illegal items were found. The joint operation, headed by Mitchell’s Plain SAPS, included their visible police unit, law enforcement and Metro police officers.

The first of three houses in Epson Street had about five children asleep in a room, which appeared to serve as the bedroom and kitchen with broken cupboards and drawers. Four children were in one bed and on another bed was a woman and a child. In another room lay a woman and her son.

The kitchen downstairs had no appliances, crockery or taps and the lights were not working.

A man who answered the police’s questions as if he was the head of the household, said he did not live there but only slept there because of his children.

Doors away a police officer had to climb over a gate to knock on the door of an elderly woman’s home. The woman, who has a teenage boarder, got back into bed as the police searched the house and questioned the teen.

Inside a house in Peugeot Street, about six young men lay on the floor, including a man with an amputation and another with a bloodied bandaged foot, who had been shot earlier in the week, waiting to be searched by the police.

Before entering the houses officers were briefed as to what they could expect to find, including drugs and ammunition.

The operation included the execution of search warrants, tracing of wanted suspects, high density patrols and visible policing, as well as stopping and searching people.

Captain Ian Williams said no serious crimes were reported during the operation due to the increased visibility and blue light patrols by police.

In other crime news, Mitchell’s Plain police’s crime prevention unit confiscated 80 straws of heroin, seven packets of tik, a mandrax tablet, half a mandrax tablet, a folded piece of paper containing mandrax powder and R330 at a house in Haasendal Street, Westridge, on Thursday July 26.

A 44-year-old man was arrested and faces a charge of being in possession of drugs.

Captain Williams said anyone with a drug addiction should be referred to the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) or a rehabilitation centre.

“Drugs and alcohol addiction fuels crime such as domestic violence, assault, theft and robbery as addicts are desperate for money to support their habit. Help is available. Persons found in possession of illegal substances such as dagga will be criminally prosecuted,” he said.

The police bomb squad was called in to detonate a hand grenade found in a house in Tulip Street, Lentegeur, on Saturday July 28, at 6.20pm.

A woman had told the police that she had seen a hand grenade in the house while cleaning.

It was lodged between the curtain and the couch in the lounge, where the window was broken.

No one was injured during the detonating process but police are investigating a case of attempted murder.

Anyone with information can call investigating officer, Detective Constable Ricardo Louw, from Lentegeur SAPS’s serious and violent crimes unit on 082 411 2382.

Mitchell’s Plain police’s Tactical Response Team (TRT) attended to a complaint about guns being kept at a house in Chelsea Road, in London Village, on Saturday July 28, at 10.45pm.

Four firearms, including a 9mm Browning firearm with serial number 245PY1221; a 9mm Norinco CZ75 with serial number S0226; another 9mm Norinco CZ75 without a serial number; and a 9mm pistol with serial number K6090, as well as seven 9mm magazines, 97 9mm live rounds of ammunition and 18 units of heroin, were confiscated.

Six men, aged between 23 and 38, were arrested. They face charges of possession of a unlicensed firearm and ammunition and were due to appear in the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court on Monday.

Mitchell’s Plain deputy cluster commander, Brigadier Mmagautu Letsoalo, said the police would continue to clamp down on crime and criminals.

“We will maintain our zero tolerance approach in the combating and investigation of crime,” she said.

Brigadier Letsoala also commended her members for a job well done and the community for their involvement in reporting crime and criminals.

The tactical response team also responded to information about a man being in possession of a firearm on Friday July 27, at 8.50pm.

They searched the man, 26, in Martin Road, Westgate, and confiscated a black mini Uzi 9mm firearm with serial number 3940362, and a magazine.

The man faces a charge of being in possession of a firearm without a licence. He appeared in court on Monday July 30.

Brigadier Letsoalo urged the community to form part of community policing structures and to contact their respective sector commanders with information on crime.

They can also call the police on Crime Stop on 08600 10111. All information will be confidential.

The Constitutional Court has handed down judgment in the case of the Minister of Safety and Security vs South African Hunters and Game Conservation Association (2018)ZACC 14. The court held the Sections 24 and 28 of the Firearms Control Act, No.60 of 200 are constitutional and valid.

This means that those who have not applied for a renewal of their firearm licences, are in possession of illegal weapons.

These firearms need to be “surrendered” to SAPS, from Monday to Friday, between 8am and 4pm.

Call 082 522 1282 or 021 370 1600 at Mitchell’s Plain police station for more information.