Olievenhoutbosch residents hope for safety as police probe nearly 500 cold cases

In May, Police Minister Bheki Cele vowed to change police management, set up a task team to investigate cold cases and have more boots on the ground to deal with gangs.

FILE: On Thursday police revealed to Eyewitness News that they had arrested two suspects linked to a murder and a string of house robberies in the Olievenhoutbosch community.Picture: SAPS

JOHANNESBURG – Police are investigating about 500 unsolved cases in Olievenhoutbosch, and they hope to arrest more hardened criminals linked to murder and rape who have been terrorising the community.

In May, Police Minister Bheki Cele vowed to change police management, set up a task team to investigate cold cases and have more boots on the ground to deal with gangs.

On Thursday, police revealed to Eyewitness News that they had arrested two suspects linked to a murder and a string of house robberies in the community.

READ: 'I'm still too scared': can police rebuild trust with Olievenhoutbosch residents?

Melidah Maake invited Eyewitness News into her house, which was not far from the only police station in the community.

She showed her scar on her right cheek where a bullet struck her during a house robbery almost a year ago.

“My husband was sleeping here, and my last born was sleeping there. I was waiting. Three guys came in and they pulled out guns and pointed at me.”

Maake's husband didn't make it.

The gang shot him dead, in front of their child.

Community leader Kennith Masha was at the house that night and he tried to call the police, but no one responded for hours. Until, he said, the station commander arrived reeking of alcohol.

“He was very drunk, and that’s one of the reasons we said to the minister that we needed that station commander to leave. We can’t have confidence that crime will be dealt with in the community.”

Maake was pleased that Minister Cele was making some drastic changes in the community but added that it would take time before she trusted the police again.

ALSO READ: Cele - It pains me that Olievenhoutbosch community has no trust in Saps

Many other residents that Eyewitness News spoke to said that they had noticed that more police officers were visible in their neighbourhood since Cele's visit three months ago.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gert Corbett is the newly appointed station commander with 36 years of experience and seems to be working hard to make citizens feel safe again.

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