South Africa

Metro Police Officers targeted

On Friday Cape Town Metro Police were attacked in the wake of an operation in Philippi focusing on illegal taxis.

19 vehicles were impounded and 23 traffic fines were issued  during the operation.

One officer was surrounded by a group of approximately 20 people who mobbed him while he was driving an impounded vehicle: they assaulted him and tried to grab his service pistol. Members of the South African Police Service in the area fired a warning shot to force the crowd to disperse.

An hour later, two Metro Police vehicles were damaged at the corners of Stock and Rochester Roads by a crowd standing at the intersection. The department’s Tactical Response Unit was dispatched and had bricks and stones pelted at them before firing two rubber rounds to disperse the crowd.

Later that evening, a Metro Police officer leaving the department’s Philippi depot had a gun pointed at him by an unknown man. He requested an escort to leave the premises and, just a few metres from the gate, three shots were fired at the vehicles. At the Philippi East police station, officers discovered a bullet-hole in the right front door of one of the vehicles.

‘The events in Philippi are a blatant attack on the State and cannot be tolerated. Our job is to enforce the laws and it is very unfortunate that those who believe that they are above the law have the temerity to react in this manner. I want to commend the officers for staying the course during this operation. We are thankful that there were no serious injuries and I want to make it very clear that we will not be intimidated by criminals,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

Traffic Services’ Ghost Squad meanwhile arrested seven motorists for reckless and negligent driving during operations focusing on illegal street racing in Athlone and Ottery – one of whom was found to be twice over the legal alcohol limit.

In Milnerton, the Ghost Squad was conducting a pre-operation briefing outside the Milnerton police station when they spotted a vehicle speeding down Koeberg Road towards the police station. The driver nearly collided with a traffic post before proceeding onto the premises of the police station. When officers approached the driver, they found that he was dressed in full police uniform and smelled of alcohol. A breathalyser test determined that the officer was nearly three times over the legal limit. He was one of six motorists arrested in the Milnerton area for reckless, negligent and drunk driving.

‘This arrest is really disappointing, especially considering how many innocent lives are lost on a daily basis on our roads as a result of reckless, negligent or drunk driving. More than that, I would expect an officer of the law to have more sense than being drunk – not just in uniform, but also behind the wheel. It is an indictment when the people who are meant to uphold the law are the ones breaking it and it is therefore no surprise that some residents have no regard for the law or those who enforce it,’ added Alderman Smith.