'COPS TAKE HOURS TO RESPOND TO CRIME'

THE controversial Nelspruit police station is failing crime victims because of the alleged lack of vehicles, with police usually taking hours to attend to complaints.

THE controversial Nelspruit police station is failing crime victims because of the alleged lack of vehicles, with police usually taking hours to attend to complaints.

This poses a threat to the security of the people expected to attend the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Frustrated police officials at the station told Sowetan that their morale was low because there was little they could do to attend to crime scenes quickly due to a shortage of vehicles.

"We are ready to serve our people but our hands are tied because we only have four vehicles.

"It sometimes takes us more than two hours to attend to a complaint less than 10km away," said a police officer who wished to remain anonymous.

The station covers the CBD, the surrounding suburbs of West Acres, Stonehenge, Steiltes, Valencia, Nelville, Riverside, Sudwala Caves, Crocodile Valley and Thekwane South.

"We are being accused of not doing our jobs when in fact we are short of resources," he said.

Private security companies are also experiencing problems with the Nelspruit police and have accused them of taking too long to attend to crime scenes.

On Sunday night three Chubb security guards responded to a burglary at the home of Ntime Skhosana, the spokesperson for the Deputy Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thabang Makwetla, in Stonehenge.

When Sowetan arrived at the scene minutes later, one of the guards was speaking to the Nelspruit police station on the phone. He later said a policewoman had told him they would only be at the scene after two hours.

It was only after Sowetan's intervention that two policemen arrived within minutes following an instruction from Superintendent Sibongile Nkosi, the spokesperson for acting provincial commissioner Rex Machavi.

"I have requested the station to furnish the commissioner's office with an inventory of their vehicles, and we'll take it from there," Nkosi said yesterday.

The security guards - Solomon Makhubu, Phanuel Mkhabela and Elphus Mkhantswa - told Sowetan it was the first time the police had responded quicker.

"They are afraid of Sowetan, otherwise they would have taken the two hours they had promised us," Mkhantswa said.

Skhosana left the house unoccupied last month when he joined Makwetla in Cape Town.

"Crime is but crime, what comment do you expect from me?

"Nothing seems to have been stolen from the house, though," Skhosana said yesterday.

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