Durban – The eThekwini metro police are set to open a new satellite police station inside the Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre Complex to “guarantee” the safety of the investors and tourists coming to the city.
The station is expected to be launched by eThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda. The launch event was expected to take place today but the city advised last night that it had been postponed to a later date.
Kaunda said this station will help boost the service offered to the community in and around the ICC.
The move was welcomed by councillors but they urged that the entire CBD should be made a crime-free area, pointing out public had been victims of crime in and around that area.
Deputy head of metro police Sbonelo Mchunu said the station will be well-resourced.
He said 200 metro police trainees that will be deployed to the station.
“This station would be among our important ones. There are a lot of investors that are coming to the city. They could be international investors or coming from other provinces like Johannesburg, it will be that station’s job to ensure that not a single one of them is robbed or is a victim of crime while they are in the city,” said Mchunu.
He said tourist and business people visiting the area had been victims of crime or targets of harassment by foreign governments while they are in South Africa.
“Others are targeted for global conflict purposes, in other cases its government like (name of the country) following and harassing its opponents at home, tracking its opponents down here to maim and kill them as if it was just and ordinary crime incident.
“We want to eliminate all those incidents by keeping a database of movement of these high value targets and provide route protection within the city,” he said.
This would be the second satellite station launched by the unit in the past few weeks. It recently opened another station close to the Octavia Hotel in Inanda.
Mchunu said any notion that the Inanda station was “free security” for the hotel was not true.
“The owner of the hotel provided us with the venue as it would have been delayed by building the venue by at least a financial year.”
Mchunu said the Inanda area is one of the areas that are besieged by criminals and had a very high murder rate.
“Our guys there are working with the SAPS, they are not investigating any crimes there. Their job is to arrest those that have been identified as wanted. We want to make it as uncomfortable as possible for criminals to remain in the area,” he said.
IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said the idea to protect assets such as the ICC was important but there was a need to address the root cause of the problem of crime.
“We should first address the issue of homelessness where we have many people whose origin is unclear and who cannot be traced, that is the first point of call.
“The idea is good, but what is going to happen if our visitors are attacked in other parts of the city?” questioned Nkosi.
DA councillor Thabani Mthethwa said they welcomed the initiative.
“We have been calling for the city to set up satellite stations in areas that are crime hot spots, we have been receiving many reports that students going to Unisa were getting robbed and this will help with that.”