When Ngwako Mashao was appointed Orlando police station commissioner in 2001, the precinct was in disarray. The crime rate was very high and residents complained about inefficiency.
When Mashao introduced strategies to fight crime, not all his officers were competent.
"Competency levels were not good," he said.
But that did not deter Mashao from achieving his goal of making Orlando a safer area.
He said he realised that proactive policing was the only solution.
"I mobilised the community, which included getting patrollers to scout the most problematic areas in the mornings and evenings. I also introduced skills development programmes, he said.
It took Mashao almost a year to gain the confidence of his counterparts. But now Orlando police station holds the number one position in Gauteng and it has occupied the top spot in Soweto since 2005. Mashao says there's no turning back.
"We are now aiming for the number one position nationally," he said.
Mashao is also the chief of what might be called a super police station. Four police chiefs in Soweto report to him. Orlando police station coordinates the operations of the Meadowlands, Diepkloof, Eldorado Park and Kliptown precincts.
Mashao does not tolerate any criminality, not even from his own members.
"Between 2001 and 2008 five reservists and a Public Service Act staffer were fired for corruption. There is no place for criminals in the service. It tarnishes the image of the SAPS."
He hailed residents for helping to fight crime.