Damning allegations of senior police officials involved in corruption, an inadequate police force and high levels of gender-based violence (GBV) were among concerns raised by West Rand residents when they aired their frustrations at an imbizo in Krugersdorp hosted by the police ministry on Saturday.
Police minister Bheki Cele, flanked by national commissioner Gen Fannie Masemola, minister of home affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi and senior officials from the department of mineral resources & energy and energy, sat through an almost six-hour event after last week's gang rape in Krugersdorp.
Residents called for the removal of a senior SAPS official, accusing police in the region of taking bribes, encouraging community members to take the law into their own hands and taking drugs.
One resident said he alerted police to a group of men with guns. “They said you deal with them and we'll back you up afterwards.”
A woman said day and night she witnesses police taking bribes and drugs, adding she had seen a woman being abused by zama zamas in front of police, who then shook the illegal miners' hands and drank with them.
She said the senior police officer in question thinks the local police station belongs to him and called for his removal, saying: “I hate him, I hate that guy, I hate him. I am hurt and angry.”
Others accused police of using state resources, such as police vehicles, at weekends for personal errands. Some said because some police officers had been in the area for many years, they were friends with criminals who were then not dealt with.
Community members called on home affairs to arrest and deport illegal foreigners and said mining companies must also be held responsible for issues facing the area.