Relentless determination by SAPS management in the Eastern Cape to root out criminality with all its manifestations in the crime infested Bityi, has incrementally yielded positive results since the massive deployment of forces which began on the 1 May 2021 to date.
The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga took a decision to augment the deployment of forces by bringing in an Intervention Team which is still camping in the area. This is a step which received an overwhelming support and appreciation from both the government, traditional leaders and the majority of Bityi communities who for a long time had been subjected to untold intimidation and torture by criminal elements who ran a reign of terror in almost all the villages in the area.
This operational deployment was part of a determined effort by the South African Police Management to deepen its strategies to enhance for more successes and customer satisfaction. Additional physical and human resources were deployed to give impetus to the intervention for improved results.
Among the objectives of the deployment was to ensure the rule of law, sustained peace and stability and customer satisfaction in the area. Most exciting to the community was the presence of more security forces in their villages which heightened their hopes for a lasting peace and arrest of those who continued to unleash a reign of terror in the affected villages.
Several multi-disciplinary interventions have been initiated in the area coupled with great successes achieved by the South African Police Service teams. Before the police flooded the area several livestock was lost to stock thieves. A large quantity of fire-arms was prevalent and was the most commonly used instrument of murder. House Robberies were the order of the day with stolen cars and drugs retrieved from the villages almost on daily basis.
With the strong presence of Men and Women in blue, and the overwhelming support of the community to clean their villages of criminality, Bityi is no longer the same. What used to be regarded as a battlefield and playground for the stock thieves is now a relatively peaceful zone for the law abiding citizens. Police are aware of a few criminals who use other districts as springboards to launch attacks on Bityi. However, investigations are underway to deal extensively and meticulously with such criminal elements.
The following successes had been achieved and several suspects were arrested with some appearing in various courts whilst others are still weakening in police custody whilst waiting to answer for their crimes. The power of the law and police stamping the authority of the state has literally deprived the criminals in Bityi of their long prejudicial enjoyment over the people.
The charges ranged from those arrested for possession of unlicensed firearms, unlawful possession of live ammunition, dealing in drugs, murders, stock theft and contravention of Immigration Act etc. About 428 live ammunition has been confiscated from suspects in Bityi, Holsters and Magazines, 41 unlicensed firearms, 408 sheep recovered and handed over to lawful owners and 137 dangerous weapons, a number of Cellphones, toy guns and R45 000-00 worth of liquor was confiscated with some taverns closed down for Non Compliance.
The Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Liziwe Ntshinga has expressed satisfaction with the work of the forces thus far, in stamping the authority of the state and the amount of successes achieved in just three months of their deployment in Bityi. General Ntshinga and management are expected to take a second visit to the area, to assess the work of the deployed forces and community satisfaction. The police leadership will also look at ways of interacting with leaders of the community. Arrangements in this regard will be made at an appropriate time.
As was indicated in the beginning of the deployment, operations will run for as long as the police are satisfied that the objectives of the deployments have been achieved.