Mitchell’s Plain police station, which has made headlines recently for the disappearance of 15 state-issued 9mm pistols firearms from the station and the subsequent suspension of 14 police officers, including Mitchell’s Plain station commander Brigadier Cass Goolam (“Missing guns probe”, Plainsman, September 20), has a new acting station commander Colonel Jan Alexander who took the reins. on Wednesday September 20.
Colonel Alexander told the Plainsman in an interview on Monday September 25 that he could not comment on the firearm investigation or the suspensions and that his first duty was to meet the community.
The colonel served at Lansdowne and Steenberg police stations respectively and was station commander at Steenberg police station before being transferred to Mitchell’s Plain.
He will be focussing on gangsterism and drugs, specifically drug dealers, manufacturers and drug outlets – a priority the Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum has also highlighted.
“We will also be addressing illegal liquor outlets,” Colonel Alexander said.
Colonel Alexander said he will be attending community meetings, including sub-forum meetings to hear complaints and change perceptions, ensuring that criminal matters will be addressed.
“I need to check what is in place, in terms of structures – block and street committees. I need to know how many security companies there are in Mitchell’s Plain, business forums and what local government structures, including metro police, traffic and law enforcement officers are available to enforce by-laws,” he said.
Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum chairman Abie Isaacs and CPF secretary Lynne Phillips met Colonel Alexander on Monday September 25, to discuss measures to ensure that the suspensions will not have a negative effect on service delivery.
“We wanted to check whether his position is permanent and what his action plan is for the station,” said Mr Isaacs.
Mr Isaacs said the CPF was cautiously optimistic about the appointment. “We firmly hold the view that the investigation (into the stolen guns) be impartial and transparent; and the community be kept abreast of the outcome via the CPF,” he said.
Mr Isaacs said as an oversight body they would be monitoring their partner, the police, and will continue to play their part in reporting crime, submitting names and addresses of criminals.
The CPF has also called for the establishment of a national task team to deal with gangsterism.
Mr Isaacs said Lieutenant General Jula delegated provincial head of visible policing Major-General Mpumelelo Manci to come to Mitchell’s Plain.
Mr Isaacs said the CPF wanted to see what strategies were in place to combat gangsterism. “Gang wars have escalated in the area and we want to see convictions. We want to see more police, human capacity and more visibility,” he said.
However, Lieutenant General Jula told the Plainsman yesterday, Tuesday September 26, that he had to confirm receipt of an invitation from the CPF with his personal assistant.
Mr Isaacs said commitments were made by police and the ministry to address the issues of gangs and drugs “but we need to see action.”
“The turnaround needs to be sooner,” he said. “We want a national task team dedicated to deal with this crisis, we are dealing with on the Cape Flats. This is a genocide. There are plans in place but there needs to be a turnaround sooner,” he said.
He said there had been several shootings in recent weeks.
Mr Isaacs said the CPF had a working relationship with local police members but not at provincial level. He said the CPF heard from the media, not provincial police, about the suspensions of Brigadier’ Goolam, the head of visible policing, all the relief commanders and all the community service centre commanders.
Mitchell’s Plain police spokesman, Captain Ian Williams, said the remaining vacancies would be filled by provincial management.
Mitchell’s Plain acting station commander Colonel Jan Alexander has called on the community to contact their sector commander to support community and partnership policing.
The police precinct is broken down into smaller manageable sectors to improve community interaction.
The sector commander coordinates policing activities in the sector, runs crime prevention partnership programmes and involves the community in crime prevention initiatives, among other things.
Colonel Alexander said the sector commanders represented him in their respective areas.
The sector commanders are:
Central Business District (CBD): Captain Harry Brickles at 079 894 1703.
Eastridge: Captain Conrad Claassen at 079 894 1498.
Beacon Valley: Captain Trevor Katzen at 079 894 1682.
Westridge: Warrant officer Morne Kleinhans at 079 894 1502.
Portland: Captain Irvine du Toit at 082 469 3203.
Rocklands: Captain Leon Jooste at 079 894 1534.
Tafelsig West and East: Captain Raymond Solomon at 082 378 9327.
Hyde Park: Warrant officer Rajab Buggs at 082 522 2644.
Colonel Alexander said the public should also familiarise themselves with the police station’s community service centre (CSC). Among other things, the commander of the CSC supervises the capturing of crime information on police data systems.
The commander on shift can be called on 082 411 2379; the data typist on 021 3701706 or the crime investigation department (CID) detectives on 021 370 1782.