Respect the rule of law, say police after truck and bus torched in KZN

25 January 2023 - 13:46
By Sakhiseni Nxumalo
A truck and bus were set alight on the R22 between Hluhluwe and Mbazwana in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.
Image: Supplied A truck and bus were set alight on the R22 between Hluhluwe and Mbazwana in KwaZulu-Natal on Tuesday.

Police have urged northern KwaZulu-Natal communities to refrain from violence as plans are in place to address the theft and smuggling of vehicles to Mozambique. 

This comes after a truck, allegedly from Mozambique, and a bus were torched on the R22 between Hluhluwe and Mbazwana, northern KwaZulu-Natal, on Tuesday when communities protested against cross-border crimes. 

It is alleged communities from Hlabisa, Umhlabuyalingana and other areas next to the Mozambique border are fed up with little to no action by authorities to curb the theft of motor vehicles which are transported to Mozambique. 

Provincial police commissioner Lt-Gen Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi condemned the burning of vehicles. “These criminal acts, which are believed to be perpetrated by criminals posing as law-abiding citizens, were purported to be directed at supposed Mozambican criminals who are suspected of being involved in a vehicle theft syndicate,” he said.

Mkhwanazi called on residents in the Umkhanyakude district to respect the rule of law and acknowledge the interventions which police management have put in place to curb vehicle theft in the area.

“We do not support this behaviour and as a caring organisation we have listened to the concerns of the residents. They demanded the upgrading of their police station and we acceded to that.

“The station is at a level of a colonel. We have gone further than that and deployed extra members to the area. The Emanguzi police station has been built and will be handed over to the police service by the department of public works and infrastructure soon. In December 2022 we appointed a new district commissioner, Maj-Gen Mduduzi Shezi, who will take up his post on February 1.”

Interventions have had an almost immediate impact and several suspects have been arrested and detained, he said, adding that statistics show a decrease in vehicle crimes in the district. Operations with community policing forums and other structures are ongoing to rid the area and entire district of crimes related to vehicle theft and smuggling.

“Community members are urged not to incriminate themselves by taking the law into their own hands and embarking on violent action, including damaging property.”

Cases of hijacking and malicious damage to property have been opened for investigation by Hluhluwe police, he said. 

KZN transport, community safety & liaison MEC Sipho Hlomuka said they understand people’s frustrations and accept they have a right to voice dissatisfaction and unhappiness. However, he said, that right must never infringe on the rights of other citizens.

“We want to appeal to all people in our province to desist from using acts of violence to get their message across. We urge all community leaders and members to always abide by the prescripts of the law. Such acts of vandalism and anarchy will not be tolerated,” said Hlomuka.

The department said plans to erect jersey barriers on the border between Manguzi and Mozambique have been halted by minor technicalities. and they were working to resuscitate the project.

“We believe this will prevent syndicates from transporting stolen goods to and from our neighbouring countries Mozambique and Swaziland.”


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