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19 Apr 2013 15:49
President Jacob Zuma arrived unannounced at the Sunnyside police station in Pretoria to inspect the quality of service to the public. (Gallo)
Zuma said afterwards the station was struggling to cope with the number of residents in the area.
"I think it is the busiest police station in Pretoria. I [also] think it is overwhelmed by the population, there is a bloat [sic] of population here," he told reporters.
"As they [police station officials] reported, it is populated in the main by foreigners as well as students.
It is active [for] almost 24 hours [a day] and the crime tends to continue all the time."
Zuma found officers at the station "very committed and enthusiastic about their task".
"As I was coming out I met the detectives, who are very clear about what they want to do.
Zuma said he met voluntary police officers, roped in by the station to help stem crime in the neighbourhood.
"I think they [the volunteers] need something, some incentive. It is quite fair if they are doing a good job. I will be talking to the [police] commissioner and the minister about some of the issues."
Earlier, Zuma spoke to station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Maisha Bopape about crime in the area.
Bopape said: "This place is full of foreigners, and it is also over-populated. Some people rent flats in order to rent them out. You find that there are four or five people staying in one room."
The large number of students were also contributing to overcrowding in the area. The University of Pretoria and University of South Africa were in the police station's vicinity.
"The students do not have enough money for nice places, so they share. During the holidays, a lot of places being rented by the students were broken into," said Bopape.
He said the station dealt with residents' firearms applications.
"People who qualify are those without criminal records. We check whether the people are not violent, and they must also pass practical checks on how to operate a gun."
Zuma joked: "I must apply because I don't have a crime [record] and I am not violent. I know how to operate a gun."
A large media contingent followed Zuma into the police station. Some excited members of the public shouted "Msholozi" (Zuma's clan name) in the station.
Astonished police officers stared at the president and his entourage in the station's corridors. – Sapa
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