The Anti-Vehicle Trafficking Unit in Umkhanyakude, in KwaZulu-Natal, says car theft has dropped significantly under level 3 lockdown.
The unit’s chairperson Joseph Ngubane is attributing the good news to roadblocks and increased police visibility.
The cars are normally stolen in various parts of South Africa and taken to Mozambique via Jozini.
Last year, tired of hijackings, residents in the district took the streets, calling for more action to end hijackings in the area.
They also beat up men believed to be part of a car syndicate, who gave up the names of law enforcement officers accused of involvement in the trafficking of cars.
“It was really bad before the lockdown but now things are much better. The hijackers are people who live among us and are now cautious because the police are all over. Roadblocks all over the country are also helpful because at the borders – they have been passing through despite patrols,” Ngubane says.
He hopes for more roadblocks along the border posts in Mkhanyakude.
“Although we understand that budgetary constrains could prevent the deployment of more police officers – we believe the roadblocks will really keep the crime levels down.”
He has also lamented the passing of KwaZulu-Natal Transport and Community Safety and Liaison MEC, Bheki Ntuli.
Ngubane says Ntuli was committed to crime fighting and at the time of his passing – they were planning a meeting to find lasting solutions to vehicle trafficking.
Ntuli died of COVID-19 related complications recently and was laid to rest on Thursday.
Scores of people have been arrested in Jozini and Ndumo, in KwaZulu-Natal, for not wearing masks when traveling to the cities.
According to the country’s COVID-19 regulations, a person found guilty of not wearing a mask faces six months in jail or up to R1 500 fine.
In December, a Pietermaritzburg court also issued a law, which stipulates a R300 fine for failure to wear a mask in public, R1 500 for breaking the 9PM-6AM curfew and businesses that close later than 8PM or are overcrowded will pay R3 000.
The adjusted level 3 lockdown regulations are part of government’s efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed the lives of more than a million South Africans.
Jozini Mayor Delani Mabika says the police and the army will continue to crack down on towns under the jurisdiction of the municipality.
These include Jozini, Ngwavuma, Bhambanana, Ndumo and Mkhuze.
On Thursday, KwaZulu-Natal recorded 132 COVID-19 related fatalities.
The province has a total number of 236 177 coronavirus infections and 5 002 deaths.
Umgungundlovu, Ugu, Harry Gwala, King Cetshwayo and Ilembe are the hardest hit areas in the province. – Report by Mnqobi Ngwenya, a Maputaland 107.6 Fm Journalist.
The parents of a young boy from Jozini, in KwaZulu-Natal, who was kidnapped when he was six days old are over the moon after the child’s safe return home.
They have thanked the Shembe prophet, known as the king of Nazareth uNyazilwezulu, to whom they went to consult for help. The couple says Nyazilwezulu promised them that the boy would return home safely one day. A prophecy that has come true.
Nhlakanipho is now nine years old.
He was abducted by a woman who had promised to help his mother register his birth.
She was visiting Jozini at the time of the crime and while on their way to the home affairs department – Khanyisile, the kidnapper, asked Nhlakanipho’s mother to go buy something to eat at the nearby shops before disappearing with the boy.
The father of the child, Thokozani Gumede, has told Maputaland Community Radio News that they had spent a lot of money trying to find Nhlakanipho.
Nhlakanipho’s mother, Fikelephi Mpotshane-Gumede, has thanked the Jozini police and everyone who has tried helping them find their son.
She has warned young women not to trust strangers with their children. Mpotshane-Gumede has also called on young people to draw closer to God and forget the pleasures of the world.
The former boyfriend of the alleged kidnapper, Joseph Ndala, lived with the boy in Daveyton, eMaphupheni, and says he loved the boy like his own child.
He says the child’s abductor also had him fooled, pretending to be a good person while she was in fact a wolf in a sheep skin.
“She poisoned me and the child and then handed herself over to the police. The police came to our home and took me and Nhlakanipho to hospital. The child spent three weeks there and I was discharged after being treated.”
Ndala says Khanyisile confessed to a social worker that she had stolen the child and that’s the only time he learnt the truth about his beloved Nhlakanipho. The kidnapper had previously told him that the child was born of rape.
Ndala is urging other men to learn more about their partners and where they come from before settling down with them.
The spokesperson for the police in Jozini, Captain Senzo Gumede, says they worked tirelessly since 2011 to solve the case.
He has urged members of the public to be patient with the police as they work on other unresolved cases.