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CASH CRISIS: COPS HITCH-HIKE TO CRIME, ACCIDENT SCENES

By Wonderboy Dlamini | 2018-08-16

The financial crisis faced by the country has reached worrying levels that touch on security and safety of the citizens.

Police officers in some parts of the country are literally grounded as their cars are stuck at CTA where they had been taken for repairs, leaving them without transport.

So dire is the situations that in some police stations, police officer hitch-hike to accident and crime scenes because of transport shortage and fuel at times.

Government is currently going through a bad financial patch that has resulted in some key national capital projects being suspended or budgets cut.

Hiring of new civil servants has also been suspended, including promotion of employees in government until the financial standing improves.

Woe

The transport woe in the police service is a latest straw. Criminals in some parts of the country are having a field day, especially in Siteki, as police at the biggest police station in the region have no motor vehicles to attend to reported crime  scenes on time.

Hard hit by the situation is the traffic department that is expected to be first in accident scenes and work hand-in-hand with the fire and 911 teams.

Traffic officers in Siteki have been left with no alternative but to hitch-hike their way to accident scenes.

A number of vehicles belonging to the station are said to have developed mechanical faults and are being attended to at the local Central Transport Administration (CTA) depot.

According to well-placed sources, at least five vehicles belonging to the station are kept at the CTA where they are being repaired.

Currently, there are only two available vehicles being used by all the departments.

These include the general patrol, crime investigation department (CID) and the traffic department.

Members of the public, especially motorists, have expressed concern on the shortage of vehicles faced by the Siteki Police Station.

Traffic officers are said to be currently using their personal vehicles to mount roadblocks where they normally inspect drivers and their vehicles as a safety precaution.

Motorists have complained that the current situation puts them at risk of being hijacked by criminals who would take advantage of the situation and pose as police officers.

“Yesterday I came across a grey RUN X sedan which gave me a signal to stop near Mzilikazi, but I did not stop. I later realised that it was the traffic police who were using the vehicle and were on official duty,” said a taxi driver.

Motorists have pointed out that the situation may also see them being arrested for defying police orders as they would not stop when signalled to do so without seeing a police van in the vicinity.

This publication gathered that in some instances, the police used vehicles from other ministries such as the ministry of public works and transport.

When reached for comment, Chief Police Information and Communications Officer Superintendent Khulani Mamba acknowledged that they were currently facing a serious shortage of motor vehicles in many police stations.

Mamba said, however, they were hoping that the situation would soon be back to normal as relevant authorities were working around the clock to attend to it.

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