South Africa, Pretoria – Police were out in full force in Laudium, Erasmia, and Olievenhoutbosch yesterday, arresting people for driving under the influence of alcohol, public drinking, and contravention of traffic laws.
Residents said the crime was widespread in Laudium and Erasmia and the lack of police visibility was partly to blame.
The operation coincided with the death of businesswoman Fazila Ismail, 68, on Wednesday night during a break-in at her Laudium home. The intruders strangled her to death.
Brigadier Mathapelo Peters confirmed they were investigating a case of house robbery and murder which took place at around 9.30 pm.
Peters said two men gained entry into her house in Jewel Street and demanded the keys to the safe.
They tied Ismail up with cables and she eventually lost consciousness. She was certified dead by paramedics who had been called to the scene. “Preliminary investigations suggest she may have been choked to death by the suspects,” Peters said.
The suspects fled in the family vehicle. It was recovered in Atteridgeville.
The police operation yesterday, aimed at restoring public faith in the law enforcement system, started at Laudium police station at about noon and ended in Olievenhoutbosch.
Two suspects were arrested for dagga possession, two dagga plantations destroyed, a stolen car stopped and 236 fines issued.
Those arrested included six people for armed robbery, one for house robbery, nine people for attempted murder and 60 for assault with intent to commit grievous bodily harm.
SAPS district commissioner Major-General Hilda Mohajane said such operations would be taking place on a regular basis leading up to the festive season.
“The objective is to root out all the criminal elements in our communities to ensure people are safer; we are also out to uphold our constitutional mandate of protecting all inhabitants of this country and their properties or belongings,” she said.
Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee, a resident of Laudium, welcomed the operation, but said more still needed to be done.
He said crime was getting out of hand and criminals more brutal and ruthless.
”It again shows how desperate and brutal these criminals are. Ismail was allegedly strangled. It is very worrying as crime is increasing in Laudium and Erasmia.”
Abramjee said he had been inundated with calls from residents who were worried and concerned about the escalating crime and the violence and brutality the criminals were resorting to.
He berated the police for not doing patrols in the area even after a recent spike in crime.
“The situation is out of control and the police are not doing anything to ensure we are all safe. Police visibility is extremely limited; just this week there have been two robberies in the area.
“For instance, I have not seen a roadblock in the areas for many months now,” Abramjee said.
He would be requesting an urgent meeting with provincial police
commissioner Lieutenant-General Elias Mawela to discuss his concerns.
In September, Elchenette Rademeyer’s body was found at the Hennops Pride Caravan Park next to the R55 in Erasmia.
The body was discovered by passersby.
The 26-year-old had been shot and her body dumped and set alight in an open field approximately 4km outside Erasmia.