Police, sub-forum smoke peace pipe

SOYISO MALITI

After Kraaifontein police arrested a Wallacede Community Police Forum boss last month, relations between the two hit rock bottom, but now they’ve smoked the peace pipe.

Derrick Letlaila, Wallacedene CPF sub-forum chairman, was left hopping mad after police arrested him for illegal liquor trading at his home on Friday March 4, only to release him the following morning without charging him.

Mr Letlaila accused the arresting officers of police brutality, saying they had injured his neck, and he threatened to go to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate.

The Wallacedene CPF sub-forum leadership threw its weight behind Mr Letlaila and threatened to quit helping the police with their crime-fighting efforts.

Now, in an about-turn, Mr Letlaila has withdrawn his claim after meeting with police management at the beginning of the month.

In a subsequent meeting with the police, in which the Northern News was present, the sub-forum and Kraaifontein police leadership announced that the spat had been resolved.

“It was a misunderstanding,” Mr Letlaila said. “But now our relationship is stronger than ever, and we will continue supporting the police to eradicate crime in Wallacedene.”

When pressed to explain how the two parties had so quickly resolved their differences, Mr Letlaila said he had noted his “mistakes”.

He said he had been emotional at the time.

Setting the record straight, he said he did not condone illegal trading in liquor and admitted that he had not followed protocol by informing police management about his displeasure at his arrest.

He urged big businesses to work township entrepreneurs to develop skills so as to avoid the need to sell liquor to survive.

Major Lucas Johnie, for Kraaifontein police, said they had hashed out their differences for the greater good: to continue fighting crime.

Major Johnie said: “We will continue where we left off. We appeal to the community to form more neighbourhood structures with police and the CPFs.”

Mr Letlaila and Major Johnie urged the community to continue working with the police and the CPF structures in rooting out crime in Kraaifontein.