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2021/03/29      |  Written By:  Mr M Ngxukumeshe   |   Province:  Western Cape

The Station Commander of Uniondale Police Station which falls under Eden Cluster, Lt Col Anton Stander has received a pat on the back from the Deputy Police Minister Cassel Mathale during Ministerial Rural Safety Imbizo which was held at United Congregational Church of South Africa in Uniondale.

Delivering his keynote address on what was called Rural Stakeholder Engagement on Saturday 20 March 2021, Mathale heaped praises to Lt Col Stander for the way he has accommodated and serviced the community of Uniondale with equal treatment.

Mathale was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reforms Mcebisi Sikwatsha, Shadow MEC of Community Safety and Security and the Parliament member of Western Cape Legislature Mesuli Kama, Head of Hawks Lt Gen Godfrey Lebeya, Acting Deputy Divisional Commissioner SF Pienaar who stand in Lt Gen Masemola, Maj Gen Mathontsi and Acting Western Cape Provincial Commissioner Maj Gen Thembisile Patekile, Speaker of George Municipality Councillor G. Pretorius and Eden Cluster Commander Maj Gen Oswell Reddy.

Visibly-relieved with the turn of events, Mathale said he was worried when he left Uniondale last time as he could vividly remember what happened.    

“When we were here in our first visit to Uniondale, I remember very well that members of the community were very hostile towards you, Col Stander complaining about the unfair treatment that you were giving them. At that time many of them were saying you must pack and go.”

  “I could see that you have taken note of our advice to attend to their cries, for what seemed to be a frosty relationship with them at the time.  We even have a word with you, that if things have not changed when we come back we will have no choice but to redeploy you in other station.”

But today I could see your demeanour, your commitment and dedication to the people that you are serving.

It demonstrated to me, that things have changed for the better here.  Last time you could hardly finish a sentence whilst you were in the podium, with community members of Uniondale publicly rejecting you.”    

  “But to day you have spent a considerable amount of time in the podium speaking to the same members of the community and soon after your presentation you received a thunderous applause.”

Let me tell when we were coming here today, our convoy got lost and went astray and far away from this place, but as we meet people telling them, that our destination is Uniondale Police Station, they told us you are a very good administrator Col Stander so keep it up.

“I am equally impressed with the Overview presentation and crime analysis patterns by Maj Gen Reddy, for having carefully responded to all the 22 complaints, case by case which were raised against the police in our last Imbizo in 2019.

The presentation you did here this morning General means so much to the people as it was a way of saying, we are here for you, we will listen to you and respond to you and address your unhappiness for what we are doing as the police,” Mathale remarked.

I wish to tell you that wisdom and solutions of the community problems and challenges lies within the ordinary members of community not with us as leaders, community members know what is happening in the community.

These are your extra boots on the ground. You will succeed if you work with them. I am also sure if you are working with them you will have less headache in doing your work,

They know who is doing what in the community.  They know who is selling meat in a suspicious way yet he or she doesn’t own any sheep, cow or chicken, they can provide with that information.

So therefore whatever you are doing you must interact with them and make them feel safe as constitution of the country demands you to do so. 

The man of god who did a scripture reading and prayer to this event this morning, he pointed out that being a police officer is a calling, I concur with that, he was spot on.

Thank you for serving our people with honour and dignity without looking at either he or she is a farm -owner or farm-worker or farm-dweller, we appreciate the work you have done so far, but there is still a long way you have just scratch the surface.

Mathale said one of the biggest sources of crime is hunger and poverty.  He further said that if people go to bed on empty stomachs, they will devise means to get something to eat whether illegally or any untoward actions.

He said it was for that reason he had invited the Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Land Reform, Mcebisi Sikwatsha to be part of the Ministerial Imbizo.

 When the Deputy Minister Sikwatsha was speaking about the carrots, cabbages, chicken and potatoes and the issue of land which must be used by the members of the community to find ways of alleviating poverty, it was part of a plan to come and shed some light on bread and butter issues. It was intended to share the platform on both sides, on the crime matters and poverty matters.

  He said where there is economic activity there must be safety measures as well in the form of police service. He said when people are starting to get something to eat, it lessen the load on the side of the police.

In his vote of thanks, Acting Provincial Commissioner, Maj Gen Thembisile Patekile expressed his gratitude to the community of Uniondale for having rekindled good working relationships with the police.

I also want to thank you for reminding us of what the code of conduct and the constitution demands us to do as the police to service you with commitment and dedication.  He thanked members of the Community Policing Forum for having played major to bring police and community together to cement the relationship.

He further described Deputy Police Minister Mathale as the man of his words after he kept the promise he made, whilst he was here in 2019 that he would come to Uniondale again to see the progress made in regard with cries the community had in his first Ministerial Imbizo in the area.

Photos taken Captain Piet Smit.

The Ministerial Imbizo at UCC Church of SA in Uniondale
Deputy Minister of Police addressing Uniondale community members during the Police Imbizo.