Residents of Thamaga are in an uproar and want police officers in the area kicked out of their village and replaced with a new crop of police officers. Tempers flared during a Kgotla meeting on Saturday as residents pointed accusing fingers at the police for what the village has become of late.
Thamaga has long been under siege from a group of a notorious gang dubbed Merobisi. Its members have been terrorising villagers for the past three years, culminating in the recent murder of an old woman in her home.
The meeting was addressed by the Dikgosi, police, church leaders and village elders.
The residents could be heard murmuring during the address every time the police were mentioned, signaling that they have reached a breaking point. Many who stood up to voice their complaints blamed the police for being complacent and friendly with the gang members.
Thamaga West Councillor, Molatedi Selala, was the first to call for the transfer of the local police and his sentiments were met by cheers from residents who were shouting at the top of their voices.
“Police officers have been here for long, they need to be moved as we have been complaining about them for a long time. They have become too friendly with the villagers and this might be the reason that often clouds their judgment,” he said.
Selala, however, also placed blame on villagers
“We have surnames that often appear during investigations and most of these are concentrated around Mashadi and Masao wards. “If we are to uproot this problem, we need to work together as the community,” he said.
Meanwhile, police are also pointing fingers at the community for failing to work with them.
Divisional Traffic Officer South, Engemadzo Sechele, said it is unfortunate that the residents are not happy with their policing in the area. He acknowledged that since all residents have expressed their dissatisfaction, it is a situation that they will look in to.
He also pointed out that they have been carrying out raids in homes adding that often parents hide their children. “We carry out raids in the village; just around June we conducted a raid that resulted in the apprehension of school kids that we brought here on June 16 at the Kgotla,” he said. Sechele said parents often hide their children under beds to avoid their arrests, thus making their jobs difficult.