Parow and Goodwood have new police chiefs who have both vowed to improve service and encourage teamwork in their precincts.
Colonel Teboho Jacobs visited the Parow police station on Friday December 29 before taking up his post officially on Tuesday January 2. Colonel Falakhe Dyantyi had been the acting station head for a year and a half, having taken over from former station commander, Colonel Gert Nel, who was redeployed to the Tygerberg cluster office.
Colonel Dyanti will now resume his role as the head of visible policing at Parow.
Colonel Jacobs started with the police as a constable at a police station in Brandfort, in the Free State, where he worked from 1994 to 2000.
He was posted to Theunissen for five years, before moving to Kroonstad in 2005. He returned to Theunissen as a station commander in 2010.
After his wife died at the beginning of last year, he was transferred to a police station in Heidedal, in Bloemfontein, where he was the station commander.
“Common robbery, burglary, shoplifting, theft out of motor vehicles, assaults and drug abuse were rife in the area. Absenteeism among police members was also very high at the station,” he said.
Colonel Jacobs said it was important to “mobilise the community” in Parow and form strong partnerships with law-enforcement agencies, residents and the private sector. “The Parow community need to play a bigger role in helping us curb crime in the area.”
He has already noted several crime trends in Parow.
“Common robberies and smash and grabs are commonplace around Hungry Lion close to Station Road in Parow. Criminals prey on commuters in and around the train station and taxi rank.
“Criminals also use the
thoroughfare next to Hungry Lion as a get-away route after they commit crimes. We have also heard of commuters being robbed on trains, and we want to urge students to be vigilant when using public transport,” he said.
Thefts from vehicles were a problem in the area, and he urged motorists to make sure their cars were locked and all valuable items kept out of sight, especially when parking at shopping malls.
The public shouldn’t hesitate to complain if they experienced poor service from the police, he said.
“I want to resolve these issues immediately. My leadership style is collaborative, and I have an open-door policy. I also want to increase the visibility of senior management when residents enter the station, so that they know who to direct their complaints too.
“Teamwork within the police force is crucial.”
There are frequent complaints about drug houses and problem buildings in Parow, and Colonel Jacobs said police searched them regularly, but he encouraged the public to play their part by reporting information that could fight crime.
“It’s important that I build the community’s trust and change the negative perception that they have of the police,” he said.
Parow police spokesperson Captain Kevin Williams called for volunteers to help out at the station, especially with certifying documents, to free up officers for more important duties.
The new Goodwood station commander is Colonel Sibusiso Mntambo. Former commander Brigadier Hansia Hansraj left the post more than a year ago. Now the head of Cape Town Central police station, she was known for her no-nonsense approach and zero-tolerance for corruption.
Lieutenant-Colonel Hennie Rademeyer had been acting in the position until the end of November last year.
Colonel Mntambo, who took up his new position on Friday December 1, is originally from Ladysmith, in KwaZulu-Natal, where he started his police career as constable in 1983.
In 1990 he became the station commander at Ematsheni police station, working there for five years before returning to Ladysmith in 1996.
He was stationed at Ladysmith Regional Court for three years in an “oversight role” before being appointed relief commander at Ladysmith police station, where he stayed until November last year.”
His plans for Goodwood police include improving relations with the community and mobilising it to fight crime.
Colonel Mntambo said property crime, theft from vehicles, robberies, house break-ins and smash and grabs remained high in the area.
According to last year’s crime statistics, murders went up in both Parow and Goodwood, from one case to four cases in Goodwood and seven to 11 cases in Parow (“Statistics not ‘true reflection’,” November 1).
“I also want to look at the murder rate in Goodwood,” said Colonel Mntambo.
“In Ladysmith, we dealt with up to seven murders a day, which means I am well-equipped to deal with this challenge.”
Colonel Mntambo also vowed to weed out corruption – whether in the community or at the police station – and fight domestic violence.
“I want to run campaigns to empower victims. I want to give them hope and tell them that there is a way out of abusive situations,” he said.
He also plans to increase police visibility and run more stop-and-search operations in the area.
In September last year, Northern News reported on the staff shortages at both Goodwood and Parow police stations (“Numbers crunch at cop shops,” September 13 2017).
Goodwood Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman John Ross said at the time that the impact could be seen in the increase in anti-social behaviour and “tent cities” popping up all over Goodwood.
Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association chairman Brian Lawson told a meeting in August that Goodwood police station was 15 police officers down. And Parow CPF chairman Roger Cannon said he had met with the current and former station commanders at Parow police station to discuss staff shortages.
At that time, the Western Cape had 128 understaffed police stations.