- Olievenhoutbosch residents say they have lost hope in their local police.
- They have accused the police of colluding with criminals and of collecting bribes.
- Rape and GBV victims also claimed they were ordered to withdraw cases they opened against alleged perpetrators.
Olievenhoutbosch residents claim the police officers tasked with protecting them “are mobile ATMs that only focus on collecting money from criminals”.
The Olievenhoutbosch police station has been described as redundant and a hub for criminals by angry residents.
Residents related their horrific crime incidents to Minister of Police Bheki Cele during an imbizo in the township on Monday.
They accused local police of collusion, saying officers were known to collect money from scrapyards, drug dealers, robbers and well-known criminals instead of arresting them.
Rape and GBV victims were allegedly turned away at the police station. A mother of eight who can’t be identified to protect the identity of her children wept as she narrated her pain of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her husband.
“Our police station is not working for us as victims of GBV at all. My husband has assaulted and abused me in front of my children. I am being beaten up because I refused him to marry another woman.
“I have reported him to the police, who have told me to move out and allow my husband, his lover and children to stay in my house. I have obtained a protection order against him that police are failing to execute.
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“There is a warrant of arrest that was also issued against him. I have complained to the EFF, who took over the matter. Police promised EFF members [that they would] arrest him, and they have never done. I have moved out of our home because I fear that he will kill me,” she said.
An emotional father related to Cele how his 15-year-old mentally challenged daughter had been abducted and raped by an adult. The father said the suspect had not been arrested, although his identity was known to local police. “The investigating officer told me to withdraw the case because it won’t go anywhere.
“On 27 May, my daughter was abducted. I went to the police seeking their help, and they turned me back. I personally freed my child.
Grace Matlala said she and her husband were attacked at home on 2 January.
“While they were assaulting my husband, I called the police, who told me to escape and come to the police station. They said if I don’t come to report the case, they will not help me. Those suspects are known, and police have not helped me to date,” Matlala said.
Matome Phosa claimed, that, as an informal trader, they were robbed daily at gunpoint. Phosa said none of their cases had been attended to.
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“Our trading stalls are used by thugs to sell drugs. Those drug dealers are known, and our officers visit them to collect bribes. We are losing faith. We will end up taking the law into our hands. Our police officers also collect money from scrapyard owners where are our stolen things are sold stolen things.
“There is a foreign national in the area who manufactures fake asylum papers, IDs, birth certificates and other documents. The man is popular, and police are always seen outside his home, where he operates. They are taking bribes from him. Whenever we report him, police take him and release him after [a] few minutes,” Phosa said.