Gauteng top cop blames foreign nationals, unemployment, alcohol abuse for Diepsloot crime surge

Mawela called on the country’s lawmakers to correct loopholes in legislation as it hampered the police’s work in dealing with crime committed by foreign nationals.

Alcohol, unemployment and the influx of foreign nationals have contributed to the escalating crime rate in Soweto, Diepsloot, Gauteng police commissioner Elias Mawela said on Tuesday.

Mawela briefed the media on Tuesday on plans to address high levels of crime in the Diepsloot policing precinct.

ALSO READ: Troubles in Diepsloot: Seven set alight in grim ‘mob justice’ incidents [Watch]

This after seven people were killed in what appears to be two separate instances of mob violence earlier this month.

Five suspects have been arrested in connection with the crime.

Mawela listed several factors that hamper effective policing in the area, including the permeable borders leading to an influx of foreign nationals, high levels of unemployment and poverty, alcohol abuse, drugs and involvement in gang-related activities, subpar environmental planning including absence or inadequacy of lighting infrastructure, deteriorated road conditions causing delays in response times, and unauthorised and illegal electricity connections.


Mawela called on the country’s lawmakers to correct loopholes in legislation as it hampered the police’s work in dealing with crime committed by foreign nationals.

ALSO READ: ‘Criminals have turned Diepsloot into a shooting range’: Disgruntled residents demand police action

“The interventions which we have put in Diepsloot [have led to the arrest of] a total of 2,620 undocumented persons. And those people, when they appear before court, majority of them pay their fines and go back to the community,” he said.

“So in a way, by taking those people through the court processes, we’re legitimising their stay in the country, and during that time, the majority of these undocumented persons, some of them they have left Diepsloot, this is why the crime picture of Diepsloot that previous financial year is relatively low because they knew once you are arrested, it will be a problem.

ALSO READ: Foreign traders in Diepsloot say they’re scapegoats for crime

“But when they realise that there is a loophole in the court process, they don’t mind. They realise it’s better to be arrested, go through the court process and you’re legit in the country. That creates a problem and requires the lawmakers to correct, but as the police, we [would] have done our part.”

Crime in Diepsloot

According to Mawela, the crime committed the most in Diepsloot is assault GBH, where people assault each other with weapons. In most of these cases, the perpetrators know each other.

These escalate on weekends, when people drink and get violent.

To deal with crime in the area, Gauteng police have:

  • Increased police visibility through blue light patrols and static deployments of rapid response vehicles at identified strategic routes
  • Mounting of ad-hoc and roving roadblocks according to the developed weekly operation matrix at identified national and provincial roads that are connecting Gauteng with neighbouring provinces;
  • Intensified counterfeit goods operations by an established task team;
  • Increased ground coverage by deploying additional intelligence collectors at hot spot areas to enhance community intelligence collection capabilities, working with community patrollers and Community Policing Forums and;

A response multi-disciplinary team will also focus on all serious and violent crimes such as robbery CIT robberies and ATM bombings.

WATCH: Protest against crime in Diepsloot turns violent

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