'WE NEED 15000 cops on the beat'

Michael Sakuneka

Limpopo intends to recruit 15000 extra police personnel to be ready for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

This was revealed yesterday by safety, security and liaison MEC Ratshivhanda Ndou, who announced that the province was ahead of other provinces in crime prevention.

Ndou's call came in the wake of the announcement made yesterday by Safety and Security Minister Nathi Mthethwa that police personnel would be increased nationally from 163000 to 193000 by 2010.

Ndou was addressing more than 5000 police officers at a National Police Day celebration held at the Tzaneen showgrounds.

Senior Superintendent Motlafela Mojapelo, Limpopo's provincial police spokesman, said past experiences of countries that had hosted the World Cup had shown the need "to beef up security" during events of such magnitude.

"The SAPS sent police officers to assist during the World Cup games in Germany in 2006.

"[Our figure] was based on their reports, and on the research we made ourselves, to increase our personnel in order to deal with any eventuality during the World Cup," Mojapelo said.

Police also used the day to commemorate their colleagues who had died in the line of duty.

Ndou commended the police for arresting Limpopo's most wanted serial killer, David Rannditsheni, who had terrorised people near Modimolle, raping and killing several women in the area.

Ndou said the police should also be congratulated for having arrested 10 suspects for being in possession of explosives used to blow up ATMs.

"Police should not rest until our streets, shopping malls and rural villages are safe in order that our women and children, as well as all law-abiding citizens, can walk free," Ndou said.

He called on police stations in the province to establish police forums, which he regarded as one of the effective mechanisms to fight crime and harmonise relationships between police and the communities they served.