The new Charlestown Station Commander Captain Thuli Nkabinde

KZN Department of Community Safety in partnership with Charlestown Community Policing Forum welcomed the new Station Commander, Captain Thuli Nkabinde last Friday.

The female captain is not new to leadership, having served under the SAPS for more than 20 years in areas such as Ulundi, Obonjeni and Newcastle Cluster. Captain Nkabinde also said it was important that the community work together with the police as she has been with Charlestown from 1 February 2018. The growing rate of crime in this area prompted the CPF to seek intervention from Community Safety with stock-theft as the main problem for residents. Learners as young as 14 years spent weekends away from home while their peers carry dangerous weapons and scissors to school with several reports of stabbings within school premises.

Among other issues as presented by the CPF is drinking as learners are seen drunk and consume drugs during school hours.

Young girls are also seen approaching trucks driving across town and make themselves vulnerable to older men. The police station’s 10 111 phone line has not been working from December last year after cables were stolen and an alternative cellphone number is now available to report crime.

The contributing factors to these challenges according to community members are unemployment and lack of support from the government. They were advised by Captain Nhlanhla Dlamini to buy newspapers regularly and look for work in the careers section.
Charlestown which falls under Newcastle as Ward 1 has also made residents feel neglected. Residents said they feel they are not prioritized by the government and pleaded with SAPS and Community Safety to afford young people the opportunities for employment.

The Social Development Hall was full of young people which tends to be a worrying factor as uttered by most government officials, stating that if young people fill up such big spaces during the day, there should be concerns of a huge rate of unemployment in this regard.

The station commander stated that they have had many cases of domestic violence as The Department of Health present at the gathering said this was caused by stress at home due to unemployment.

The department has started a Depression Counseling to attend to these issues. The Health Department also said the crime in the area tend to delay other services that could have been available to pregnant women and critically ill patients as the ambulance will have to swerve and attend to a stabbing or an assault case.

Captain Nkosi also pleaded with the community to look after their live stock and protect their animals against theft. They were warned against false identities from herders who might be after their livestock.

“When recruiting employees, please verify all, particulars and liaise with police when in doubt. It is the responsibility of all owners of live stock to count their animals regularly, report all stock-theft immediately. When in doubt, do not buy meat that is offered to you, report it immediately to the police,” stated Nkosi.