Cops show force ahead of holiday

More than 200 police officers launched a pre-festive season crime crackdown in Bellville CBD last week.

The operation on Thursday December 7 involved officers from various SAPS units as well as the Metro police, City of Cape Town law enforcement and traffic police.

Bellville police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Henrietta van Niekerk said they wanted a “show of force” with the festive season approaching.

Officers searched 471 people, 213 taxis and 15 stalls, while roads to the taxi rank were blocked off.

They seized fake goods with a street value of R77 500 and issued a R1 000 fine.

They arrested one person for carrying a dangerous weapon, two for carrying a dangerous weapon and drugs and two with drugs.

The City’s Operation Exodus also kicked off on Friday December 8, with officers checking the fitness of all vehicles leaving public transport interchanges, including Joe Gqabi, Bellville and Cape Town Station.

Vehicle check points and speed checks were also set up near interchanges.

JP Smith, mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, said the operation could mean the difference between life and death for many of those hitting the roads for the holidays.

“I commend the bus and taxi operators who willingly submit to the checks because it tells me they have the best interests of their passengers at heart,” he said.

“I also urge passengers to do their bit by holding drivers to account for their actions. Of late, we are seeing more and more taxi drivers being arrested for drunk driving while transporting passengers.

“I sincerely hope that long-distance operators are more responsible, especially considering the unnecessary carnage that is far too commonplace on our roads.”

One quarter of the 1 034 public transport vehicles checked before departure in the run-up to Christmas Eve last year had failed the roadworthy test, he said.