Flying squad will cover all routes
Mpumalanga police have received an additional 40 high- performance vehicles to add to the already available 29 utilised by the provincial police's flying squad unit.
The function that took place at the KaNyamazane stadium outside Nelspruit on Tuesday saw provincial Police Commissioner Afrika Khumalo detailing a plan of action to fight crime this festive season.
Khumalo said the spate of hijackings, robberies and cash-in-transit heists required a turn-around strategy to address these crimes on Mpumalanga roads.
"Criminals were able to escape arrest due to the fact that these routes were not effectively policed," said Khumalo.
He said through police's analysis it was established that vehicles stolen from Gauteng and other provinces passed through Mpumalanga to Mozambique as well as Swaziland.
"Mpumalanga is linked to the borders of Swaziland and Mozambique as well as five provinces: KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Free State, Limpopo and North West," said Khumalo.
"Today we present the community of Mpumalanga with forty additional new vehicles to be utilised by the flying squad members."
He said the flying squad only had 29 vehicles policing all national routes like the N4, N12, N17 and N2 highways.
According to Khumalo, a total of 47 vehicles will be deployed in a radius of 50km on all identified major routes. He said the vehicles would enhance the Arrive Alive Campaign during the festive season and would also support the traffic initiatives.
Khumalo said the deployment this festive season would be intelligence-driven as in previous years.
He made an appeal to members of the community to assist the police by getting a person to look after their homes when they are away, look after children, especially girls who were vulnerable to rape, and report suspicious people loitering in residential areas.
He warned that those who drank liquor and ambled drunkenly in the middle of the night would spend Christmas behind bars because they were the ones causing accidents or who became victims of crime.
In terms of tourist safety, Khumalo said the police had partnered with civilian secretariat, economic development and tourism.
He said on Friday the Minister of Safety and security Charles Nqakula released crime statistics for the period April to September this year.
Nqakula had said that the crime situation in Mpumalanga was stabilising.