Women police officers and law enforcement officers took the opportunity to raise awareness about domestic violence during a joint stop-and-search operation earlier this week.
Champion of the police’s women’s network at Khayelitsha police station, Sergeant Motsumi Gwala, urged women in blue and law enforcement officers to perform their police duties without fear and to ensure that every motorist obeys road rules.
This emerged when the women’s network and law enforcement officers held a joint roadblock at Site C on Jaftha ka Masemola Road opposite the fire station, on Tuesday August 30.
The roadblock was aimed at determining whether drivers had valid licences and whether their vehicles were roadworthy.
The officers also took the opportunity to educate motorists about the dangers of domestic violence.
More than 50 motorists were stopped and checked, and more than 50 pamphlets providing information about domestic violence were handed out.
Explaining why they handed out these pamphlets, Sergeant Gwala said they needed to continuously educate people about domestic violence because the number of incidents reported at the station was escalating.
No arrests were made, but a number of motorists were issued with fines for a variety of offences.
Motorists and residents welcomed the initiative, saying were there more police and law enforcement visibility on the road, a number of accidents would have not occurred.
Sergeant Gwala explained that the initiative had been driven by police women who wanted to encourage young and inexperienced police officers to never feel intimidated or allow people to look down on them. She said the event formed part of their Women’s Month activities and that they had also held similar roadblocks in other townships.
Asked about the challenges faced by women in the police force, she said, motorists, particularly men, often undermined women.
“We have found a lot vehicles were not roadworthy and we gave the motorists fines.
“We are glad that the motorists were co-operative and some voluntarily stopped their vehicles so that we could check them.
“We want to send a strong message to drivers who drive without valid licences that we are coming out guns blazing for them. We are also appealing to taxi drivers to conform to road rules and be vigilant when they are driving in the township,” she said.
Motorist Mphumzi Ngxobongwana hailed the initiative, saying there was a need for police visibility on the roads especially in the townships.
He said there were many drivers driving vehicles which they were not supposed to be on the road with and when involved in an accident, they drive away because they know they were not supposed to be driving them.
“We as motorists also need to ensure that we are driving vehicles that are roadworthy. I urge male drivers to respect the women in blue.
“I also appeal to other men who are still committing domestic violence to refrain from doing that because women are also human beings who have rights as well,” he said.
Law enforcement principal inspector, Nokwanele Sinduku, said they were glad that the motorists were encouraging them to conduct more such roadblocks.
She said the roadblocks had yielded the desired results, but male drivers were still undermining law enforcement officers.
“We demand to be treated in the same degree as our male colleagues by motorists when we are doing our job.
“We will continue enforcing road rules to motorists whether they like it or not. This initiative shows that we are not scared of anyone,” she said.