More than 250 people were arrested in joint operations by police and law-enforcement agencies of the Mangaung Metro during the week-long Mangaung African Cultural Festival (Macufe) in Bloemfontein. Police spokesperson, Chaka Marope, says police officials were joined by members of the metro’s traffic and law-enforcement agencies as well as members from the Department of Home Affairs in prevention operations during Macufe which started last Thursday and ended yesterday. Marope says roadblocks, stop-and-searches, and raiding of hot-spots were conducted to ensure the safety of all.
A total of 251 people were arrested. Liquor was a contributing factor to the cause of serious and violent crimes. A total of 152 of the arrests were for liquor-related offences, such as drinking in public and disorderly conduct.
He says 15 arrests were for drunken driving. A total of 20 people were arrested for possession of dangerous weapons and 18 for the possession of suspected stolen property. About 16 arrests were for shoplifting and 30 for possession of dagga and dealing in drugs. Other arrests were for a variety of offences ranging from theft, housebreaking, robberies, assaults, pickpocketing, rape and illegal immigrants.
He says 500 vehicles were stopped and searched in traffic-related incidents. A total of 28 traffic fines were issued. These cases include the use of unroadworthy vehicles, people driving without permits, driving without licences and other traffic violations.
According to him three suspected pickpocketing syndicate members were also arrested for the possession of six suspected stolen cell phones during the Macufe Jazz event. Two of the suspects are from Welkom while the other is believed to be from Gauteng. Information received indicated that the suspects always targets big events and steal from people who are enjoying themselves at events.
The suspects were screened and found to be having serious previous cases ranging from murder, attempted murder and robberies. “One of the suspects have 38 cases pending against him.”
All the suspects were charged and detained at police stations around Bloemfontein. Those who were arrested during the week already appeared in the Bloemfontein Magistrate’s Court, while suspects arrested over the weekend are expected to appear in court today.
Acting Cluster Commander of Park Road, Khothatso Ramokotjo, applauded the zest and determination of members who worked tirelessly throughout the week. – Christal-Lize Muller