Police commander declares war on crime

New Station Commander Col Johan Engelbrecht

The Barberton SAPS’s newly appointed station commander, Col Johan Engelbrecht, has vowed that he and his members will do more to win the war against crime and violence that has afflicted the area.
Engelbrecht has extensive experience in law enforcement and though he took over as the new station commander on August 1, he has been with the SAPS since 1985, impressing in each position he filled.
In an exclusive interview with Barberton Times, Engelbrecht said he had noticed the challenges faced by the community of Barberton. He said his experience in the police force ensured he is up to the task.
“The fact that I am from outside Barberton will not deter me from doing my job. I have come here to do police work and I am ready and able to do just that,” said Engelbrecht.
The commander was aware that the crime rate in town has persisted and that the community lived in fear. He said his priority was to make them feel safe.
“My office is open to everyone, my hands are wide open and my ears are ready to listen. So let us work together. My plea to the community is: please report any suspected criminal activities without fear, then only can we achieve the police vision for 2030 to make the community safe and get criminals out,” Engelbrecht emphasised. Concerning his staff, he is happy with what he has seen thus far.

Read: Four robbers flee from filing station with more than R5 000 in cash
In the past four years the station has seen commanders come and go. Engelbrecht is the seventh station commander to head the local police station in eight years.
His predesessor, Col Sunbright Ndlovu, and former ANC councillor for Ward 45 in the then Umjindi Local Municipality, Mandla Mamba, did not see eye to eye.
At that time the police denied that the reason for Ndlovu’s transfer to Mbombela had anything to do with Mamba.
Brig Leonard Hlathi, provincial police spokesman, said the move was due to internal reasons.
“It was the prerogative of the provincial commissioner (Lt Gen Mondli Zuma) and his management to move members to vacant positions where they feel they will perform their duties well,” said Hlathi.
Ndlovu was transferred to the provincial offices where he was mandated with bigger responsibilities.
While still a station commander for Barberton Police Station, Ndlovu had many alleged battles with Mamba and his supporters.
During Mamba’s several brushes with the law, his supporters protested and accused Ndlovu of promoting propaganda with the intention of tarnishing the image of their leader.

Tom Zwane and Richard Nkosi

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