The South African Government’s Safer Festive Season initiative proved to be effective last week in the Eastern Cape and resulted in the arrests of over 1 000 people for a variety of crimes. This ahead of Police Minister Bheki Cele’s visit to the province, assessing compliance to the law by residents and businesses.
“Ahead of the annual Safer Festive Season Inspection Tour by the Minister of Police to the Eastern Cape to assess the effectiveness of Safer Festive Season plans put in place to ensure that residents and holiday makers are and feel safe during the holiday season and beyond, 693 rounds of ammunition and 72 firearms (49 revolvers/pistols, 15 rifles and 8 shotguns) were seized while 1 117 suspects were arrested for various crimes from 13 – 21 December 2020,” the South African Police Services’ (SAPS) Colonel Sibongile Soci said in a statement.
Suspects arrested include 392 handcuffed for contact crimes, 54 for property related crimes, 234 for crimes detected as a result of police action such as drug-related crimes, driving under the influence of alcohol/drugs and possession of suspected stolen property while many others were held for several other crimes, Soci also said.
Police have also managed to recover 189 dangerous weapons which includes 172 knives, 13 pangas and four axes. People were also arrested for livestock theft, which is a huge problem in the rural province, particularly during the festive season.
“Furthermore, the stock theft market was dealt a big blow with the recovery of 41 cattle, 22 goats and 19 sheep. 23 suspected stolen vehicles were also confiscated,” police said.
All the suspects have subsequently appeared before various courts while others were issued with summons to pay fines.
“Eastern Cape has already rolled out the festive season operational plans which are directed into tightening the grip on trio crimes, stock theft, violent crime and the proliferation of unlicensed firearms as well as to see the general safety of all inhabitants throughout the Province. The arrests and confiscations are the results of those well-executed operational plans,” Ntshinga said.