The rural community of Daggakraal in Mpumalanga will have some measure of comfort, knowing that a fully-fledged police station has been built nearby.
This comes after Police Minister Bheki Cele, accompanied by National Police Commissioner General Khehla Sitole and Mpumalanga Community Safety, Security and Liaison MEC, Vusi Shongwe, on Monday officially opened the newly built police station.
During his address, Cele emphasised that access to a responsive police service is not a privilege but a right.
Cele called on the South African Police Service (SAPS) to continue to fast track the accessibility to a police officer or policing services for all South Africans and those who live within the country’s borders.
The rural community of Daggakraal was grappling with high incidents of stock theft, house breaking and varied cases of assault and sexual violence. Residents of the area had been reliant on a satellite station to access police services.
As part of efforts by the SAPS to bring services and resources closer to the people, the newly unveiled police station boasts a community service centre, holding cells and victim friendly rooms (VFR) to accommodate victims and survivors of Gender Based Violence amongst other things.
Fifty-one operational and non-operational officers will report to work at the station to better service the 35 000 people living in Daggakraal.
The occasion of the official opening of the Daggakraal police station also saw the Police Ministry and the SAPS top management conduct a community engagement session, to better understand and respond to the needs of people living in and around the area.
Responding to community concerns during the opening, which included the long distances residents had to travel to report a crime as well as the slow response time of law enforcement, Cele told the residents that the SAPS continues its service delivery programme informed by population growth and spatial development.
“The access to a responsive police service should not be a privilege but a right that we as government are working each day to achieve. The strategic deployment of resources must mean that residents of any community don’t have to walk kilometres on end or rely on an expensive taxi or bus ride to access policing services. People should not have to choose between putting food on the table and going to report a crime,“ said Cele.
The Daggakraal police station joins the list of 1 159 police stations that are servicing communities across the country. – SAnews