Councillor calls for Home Affairs relocation

Customers queue outside the infamous Home Affairs building in Pinetown.

FOLLOWING various reports of muggings outside the Pinetown Home Affairs, Ward 18 councillor, Melanie Brauteseth, is engaging Home Affairs at national level to force an intervention in the interests of safety and security.

Brauteseth said with weekly reports of crime in the area, dating back many years, she had engaged with the SAPS to increase patrols and surveillance in the area.

“The SAPS have come on board, but they cannot be everywhere,” said Brauteseth.

ALSO READ: Man stabbed outside Pinetown Home Affairs

She said the reality of the matter is that Pinetown has become congested over the years.

There is an increased volume of foot and vehicular traffic and this makes it difficult for Home Affairs customers to access safe parking in the area.

“It is unfortunate that these circumstances have made these customers, especially the elderly and disabled, soft targets for criminal elements. It is grossly unfair that access to basic services has become a matter of running the safety gauntlet,” added Brauteseth.

Ward 18 councillor, Melanie Brauteseth stands outside the infamous Home Affairs building where many customers had become a victim of crime.

In a quest to move the Home Affairs building in Pinetown to a safer location, Brauteseth has engaged the Shadow Minister of Home Affairs, Haniff Hoosen MP, with this challenge.

MP Hoosen has undertaken to raise the issue with the Minister of Home Affairs.

“I am confident that this approach will at least bring the Pinetown situation to the attention of the powers that be. I am cautiously optimistic that this direct intervention at national level will yield the intended results,” said Brauteseth.

 

Residents call for the relocation

Angry victims of crime called for Home Affairs to be relocated to a safer area in February this year.

Their action was sparked when 84-year-old, Dorothy Sanders, spoke out against the crime in the area. Sanders visited Home Affairs on 31 January to verify her ID book and was attacked by two young boys who she believed were aged 14 and 15.

ALSO READ: Elderly woman (80) mugged outside Home Affairs

She said they tried to grab her from behind, but she was fortunate to have seen what was happening.

She turned to get away and nearly fell, but the wall broke her fall. She quickly used her walking stick to lash out at the boy who was trying to steal her watch from her wrist and the ring from her finger.

They got a fright and ran away. Brauteseth supported the residents call for relocation saying they were justified in their action and sought an urgent meeting with the Shadow Minister of Home Affairs.

 

SAPS supports relocation

Pinetown SAPS communications officer, W/O Muzi Maphumulo, said according to their records, crime has decreased in the area over the last three months due to undercover policing in the area, increased police visibility as well as policemen on bikes doing regular patrols.

He added that only two muggings were reported within the Home Affairs vicinity.

However he said the police supports the call for relocation of the Pinetown Home Affairs because they could use their police resources in other areas instead of just focusing on one particular area.

“Many people were arrested for common robberies in the Pinetown CBD which could possibly mean that they were the same criminals targeting the community – this leads to the decrease in crime in central Pinetown currently,” said Maphumulo.

 

 

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  AUTHOR
Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay
Journalist

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