Porn syndicate: The kingpins must be arrested

Police have rescued two women after being lured into a pornography syndicate. 

Let’s hope that the kingpins are also arrested. 

Human trafficking is a major problem and authorities must come down hard on the culprits. 

#MakeSAsafe

News 24 report:

Johannesburg – Two women, originally from Lesotho, have been rescued after they were trafficked into a pornography syndicate, Gauteng police said on Sunday.

“Sex toys… web cameras, Wi-Fi routers, USBs and cellphones were seized during a raid of a house in Westonaria, where a 29-year-old woman was arrested,” said Colonel Lungelo Dlamini.

The arrested woman is believed to be part of the syndicate that creates and distributes pornography on international websites.

The raid occurred after a provincial police unit investigating serial and electronic crime received information about the syndicate.

They interviewed a victim who said she had been lured from Lesotho with promises that she would attend school and be financially supported.

Instead, once she was in SA, she was forced into the syndicate’s work.

“While police were raiding the premises… [identified] by the victim, another victim used for the production of… pornography was rescued,” Dlamini said.

He said that the arrested woman has already appeared in the Westonaria Magistrate’s Court last week and would appear again on Thursday, October 26.

“More people are expected to be arrested,” he said.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador. He also heads-up #MakeSAsafe 
Twitter: @abramjee 

The mess in the SAPS needs to be cleaned-up urgently, writes Yusuf Abramjee

Thousands of police officers do not have firearm competency clearances. 

This has been confirmed by the Police Minister in reply to a question in Parliament.

Police cannot be a law unto themselves. 

The inefficiencies in the SAPS are of serious concern. Leadership instability, poor training and weak communication are but just some of the many problems. 

Minister Fikile Mbalula needs to move with speed and clean-up the mess. 

News 24 report:

Pretoria – There are more than 3 000 police officers in the country, who have been equipped with a firearm, but have not yet passed training declaring them competent to handle them.

In reply to a Parliamentary question by the DA, it was revealed that 3 473 police officers, who were are not yet declared competent to handle a firearm, were still carrying them, and a staggering 11 334 police officers did not have their competency certificates.

The answer from the police ministry does not elaborate on how many, if any at all, of the 11 334 officers have been given a firearm.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said the case of the 3 473 police officers carrying firearms, before being declared competent, was purely an administrative issue.

“They don’t update the system,” said Mhaga, explaining that these police officers had handed their firearms back after being declared incompetent, and that the systems had just not been updated.

He said those that needed to hand back there firearms, as well as those who had no competency certificate, had been forced to do it as a result of medical conditions, post-traumatic stress, and other factors that had led to them not being declared competent to use a firearm.

He said these officers would be moved to other units until such time as they “become competent again”.

‘Police are not subject to the same standards’

Gun expert and lobbyist Martin Hood told News24 that police officers who had not completed firearm training should not be given a firearm, however, he said the police operated in a legal loophole in terms of gun control.

Hood said there was nothing illegal about officers of the law carrying guns without completing the necessary training, and that the police were exempt from the Firearms Control Act.

“They (police) determine their own training, they make their own standards, that means they can make it as good or as bad as they want to,” said Hood.

He added that, because the police were exempt from the act, they were not held to the same standards as a civilian who wanted to own a firearm. Carrying a firearm without the necessary competency certificate was not a punishable offence because they did not need to subscribe to that legislation.

“Civilians are subject to a uniform legislated training that has checks and balances to ensure that it is done and done properly. Police are not subject to the same standards.”

He added that this was a major shortcoming in the act, as police already had a history of poor performance in terms of firearm training.

‘Puts the South African public in danger’

Hood said this loophole meant that the police were able to decide which police officers could carry firearms and the types of training and competencies they needed.

In its reply, the police ministry said the South African Police Service did not issue firearm licences to police officials, but firearm permits instead.

“The firearm permit will be issued, subject to the provision that a police official proves that he/she, possesses a competency declaration. This is a declaration stating that a police official is a fit and proper person to possess a firearm and that the police official successfully completed training, in the safe handling of a firearm.”

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard: “SAPS have failed to ensure that thousands of police officials are in fact fit to have and use their guns. This not only puts the South African public in danger, but also the police officials themselves.”

News24 attempted to get comment from the police ministry, but it referred us to police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo who, in turn, directed News24 to police spokesperson Brigadier Mashadi Selepe for comment.

Selepe did not respond to text messages or phone calls.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador. He also heads-up #MakeSAsafe

Twitter: @abramjee




The mess in the SAPS needs to be cleaned-up urgently, writes Yusuf Abramjee

Thousands of police officers do not have firearm competency clearances. 

This has been confirmed by the Police Minister in reply to a question in Parliament.

Police cannot be a law unto themselves.

The inefficiencies in the SAPS are of serious concern. Leadership instability, poor training and weak communication are but just some of the many problems.

Minister Fikile Mbalula needs to move with speed and clean-up the mess.

News 24 report:

Pretoria – There are more than 3 000 police officers in the country, who have been equipped with a firearm, but have not yet passed training declaring them competent to handle them.

In reply to a Parliamentary question by the DA, it was revealed that 3 473 police officers, who were are not yet declared competent to handle a firearm, were still carrying them, and a staggering 11 334 police officers did not have their competency certificates.

The answer from the police ministry does not elaborate on how many, if any at all, of the 11 334 officers have been given a firearm.

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula’s spokesperson Vuyo Mhaga said the case of the 3 473 police officers carrying firearms, before being declared competent, was purely an administrative issue.

“They don’t update the system,” said Mhaga, explaining that these police officers had handed their firearms back after being declared incompetent and that the systems had just not been updated.

He said those that needed to hand back there firearms, as well as those who had no competency certificate, had been forced to do it as a result of medical conditions, post-traumatic stress, and other factors that had led to them not being declared competent to use a firearm.

He said these officers would be moved to other units until such time as they “become competent again”.

‘Police are not subject to the same standards’

Gun expert and lobbyist Martin Hood told News24 that police officers who had not completed firearm training should not be given a firearm, however, he said the police operated in a legal loophole in terms of gun control.

Hood said there was nothing illegal about officers of the law carrying guns without completing the necessary training, and that the police were exempt from the Firearms Control Act.

“They (police) determine their own training, they make their own standards, that means they can make it as good or as bad as they want to,” said Hood.

He added that, because the police were exempt from the act, they were not held to the same standards as a civilian who wanted to own a firearm. Carrying a firearm without the necessary competency certificate was not a punishable offence because they did not need to subscribe to that legislation.

“Civilians are subject to a uniform legislated training that has checks and balances to ensure that it is done and done properly. Police are not subject to the same standards.”

He added that this was a major shortcoming in the act, as police already had a history of poor performance in terms of firearm training.

‘Puts the South African public in danger’

Hood said this loophole meant that the police were able to decide which police officers could carry firearms and the types of training and competencies they needed.

In its reply, the police ministry said the South African Police Service did not issue firearm licences to police officials, but firearm permits instead.

“The firearm permit will be issued, subject to the provision that a police official proves that he/she, possesses a competency declaration. This is a declaration stating that a police official is a fit and proper person to possess a firearm and that the police official successfully completed training, in the safe handling of a firearm.”

DA MP Dianne Kohler Barnard: “SAPS have failed to ensure that thousands of police officials are in fact fit to have and use their guns. This not only puts the South African public in danger, but also the police officials themselves.”

News24 attempted to get comment from the police ministry, but it referred us to police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo who, in turn, directed News24 to police spokesperson Brigadier Mashadi Selepe for comment.

Selepe did not respond to text messages or phone calls.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador. He also heads-up #MakeSAsafe

Twitter: @abramjee
 
 
 
 

Day 80: Release Kidnapped Omar Carrim, appeals Yusuf Abramjee

Today is Day 80 and Pretoria businessman Omar Carrim (76) remains in captivity. 

Carrim was kidnapped on August 3 shortly after leaving his business Home Hyper City in Pretoria. He was traveling home to Laudium.

Carrim’s car was found burned out near Erasmia the following morning. 

I have launched a daily social media campaign with a day-count appealing for Omar to be released.

We pray for his safe return. The family is distraught. They have called on the public to join them and pray for their father’s release. 

We know “Uncle Omar” is not well and the kidnappers must set him free on humanitarian grounds. I hope the kidnappers will show mercy and release the victim immediately. 

The Carrim family has also asked the public to “pray for the release and safe return of our father.”

ORGANIZED CRIME 

I recently highlighted the threat from organized crime syndicates who were targeting wealthy businessman. 

I wrote:  

The next big organized crime has hit South Africa- Kidnappings.

There has been a series of kidnappings over recent years and it appears to be escalating.

What is worrying is that these syndicates are becoming more daring and they are clearly sophisticated.

Kidnapping syndicates have been operating for some time – taking their victims and demanding ransoms running into tens of millions of rands. 

Many of these gangs have been arrested. Others continuing cropping-up targeting largely Indian, Pakistani, Chinease, Bangladeshi Zimbabwean and Mozambican nationals living in South Africa.

Many of the victims are forced to pay ransom locally.  Other gangs demand payment in foreign countries making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to follow the trail.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador. He heads up #MakeSAsafe 

Twitter: @abramjee


We need action and we need it right now, writes Yusuf Abramjee

We’ve seen a spate of attacks on children recently. 

Cabinet yesterday expressed “concern” about “disturbing reports of crimes against children.”

It’s good to express concern but what is being done to stop this? We need concrete plans of action.

Crime statistics are to be released next week and I’m sure we going to get the same old spin: Crime is decreasing and/or stabilizing.

Levels of crime are unacceptably high and law enforcement agencies are battling to control it. Police can’t cope. That’s why Police Minister Fikile Mbalula called on the SANDF to come in and assist.

I am surprised cabinet did not respond to Mbalula’s request and President Jacob Zuma has been silent.

Drastic times need drastic action. The government must wake-up and realize that our people are being killed every day. Enough is enough.

We don’t need talk only, we need action and we need it right now!

The SAPS is still leaderless. We are still waiting for a permanent National Commissioner to be appointed. Let’s hope it’s done as stipulated in the National Development Plan. If not, we could be heading for another top cop ending his career in failure.

Mbalula must appoint a police board as suggested in the NDP.

Time is running out and the more instability we have in the police, the more criminals will take advantage.

#MakeSAsafe

News 24 report:

Cape Town – Cabinet is concerned about “disturbing reports of crimes against children”, new Communications Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said on Thursday during a briefing on the previous day’s Cabinet meeting.

“Cabinet has expressed concern following disturbing reports of crimes against children, the most recent one being the alleged sexual assault of more 80 students at the AB Xuma Primary School in Orlando, Soweto, by a scholar patrol guard,” reads the Cabinet statement presented by Kubayi.

“The provincial department is commended for the prompt response by removing, with immediate effect, the senior management of the school, bringing on board social workers and instituting an investigation by an independent body.

“Cabinet calls on all communities in South Africa to work together to protect all children from any form of danger and abuse, and to partner with local police to keep our communities safe.”

Cabinet also condemned the attack on six police officers in Vanderbijlpark in Gauteng on October 10.

“The law enforcement agencies are mandated to protect society from any act of criminality. Therefore, no amount of anger can justify anyone attacking the law enforcement agencies.”

“Cabinet urges members of that community to work with the police to apprehend criminal elements and help make South Africa safer for all.”

SAPS annual report approved

Kubayi also said that Cabinet was briefed on the crime statistics for the 2016/17 financial year.

She said the annual crime statistics enable the government to monitor key crime-fighting targets and are used as an early warning mechanism to strengthen the crime prevention operations and strategies of various departments. 

She said Cabinet approved the release of the SAPS annual report, expected next week, by Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassdor. #MakeSASafe 

Twitter: @abramjee
 
 
 

From Marketing to Saving Lives: Meet Jerome Timotheus Namola Response Centre Manager

“BOOM!” This is an expression we get to hear from Jerome every time he receives good news in the office. Good news is hard to come by when you work for a safety app.

Jerome has been a Namola Response Centre Manager for the last six months. He is one of the voices callers hear when they press the Namola panic button

 

Call centre respondents deal with emergency calls from the public and make sure that the right help gets there as soon as possible.

 

Namola is an app that helps you receive emergency assistance when you need it the most. Namola provides a unique approach to improving safety and security and allows for multiple stakeholders to work together. Jerome and the team, help coordinate stakeholders who are interested in fighting crime in South Africa.

 

Jerome found himself working for the Safety app when he saw a job opportunity with the tagline, “Do you want to contribute to making a difference in South Africa?” After working in a call centre as a debt collector, he knew that he needed a change. He wanted to be part of initiatives that helped people so that he could make the world a better place for his wife and two children.

 

“Working for Namola has changed my life. I have started to value time, especially the seconds because working for the safety app has made me realise that it takes seconds to change someone’s life” says Timotheus.

 

Last month, Jerome had to use the panic button to call emergency services when he witnessed an accident. And this is what he had to say

 

“I could not be more proud of Namola. As I was driving to work, I witnessed an accident happening, so I pulled to the side and rushed to help the victims. I immediately reached for my phone and used Namola to reach out to my colleagues.”

 

He added, “The response was swift, I explained what was happening, and after a while, emergency services rushed to the scene. A fire truck, police vehicle and ambulance came to the scene. With just a click of a button, we were able to get assistance.”

 

As he narrated his ordeal, one could not miss the beam of pride from his eyes, “I immediately started encouraging everyone to download the app from the scene and explaining how it works. Everyone seemed to be impressed by the call I got from the call centre checking if the emergency services had arrived.”

 

“With Namola, our priority is not only helping citizens access emergency response services during a time of need, but we also pride ourselves in caring for the communities and people who use the app every day!”

 

Release businessman Omar Carrim: Abramjee appeals to kidnappers

Today is Day 77 and Pretoria businessman Omar Carrim (76) remains in captivity. 
Carrim was kidnapped on August 3 shortly after leaving his business Home Hyper City in Pretoria. He was traveling home to Laudium.
Carrim’s car was found burned out near Erasmia the following morning. 
I have launched a daily social media campaign with a day-count appealing for Omar to be released.
We pray for his safe return. The family is distraught. They have called on the public to join them and pray for their father’s release. 
We know “Uncle Omar” is not well and the kidnappers must set him free on humanitarian grounds. I hope the kidnappers will show mercy and release the victim immediately. 
The Carrim family has also asked the public to “pray for the release and safe return of our father.”
ORGANIZED CRIME 
I recently highlighted the threat from organized crime syndicates who were targeting wealthy businessman. 
I wrote:  
The next big organized crime has hit South Africa- Kidnappings.
There has been a series of kidnappings over recent years and it appears to be escalating.
What is worrying is that these syndicates are becoming more daring and they are clearly sophisticated.
Kidnapping syndicates have been operating for some time – taking their victims and demanding ransoms running into tens of millions of rands. 
Many of these gangs have been arrested. Others continuing cropping-up targeting largely Indian, Pakistani, Chinease, Bangladeshi Zimbabwean and Mozambican nationals living in South Africa.
Many of the victims are forced to pay ransom locally.  Other gangs demand payment in foreign countries making it difficult for law enforcement agencies to follow the trail.
*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador

Twitter: @abramjee


“10111 Strike must END now!”, writes Yusuf Abramjee

10111 call centre operators are continuing with their strike action demanding higher salaries.

This week, about 200 protestors marched on the Union Buildings.

Police management must sit down to with the unions and resolve the impasse. It has been going on for far too long.

10111 is an essential service. The call centre has been plagued with problems for years- from delays in answering phone calls to poor communication.

It’s time to clean-up 10111. It’s time to also use technology and #MakeSAsafe

Remember, you can also use the Namola Safety App and report a crime. The free service guarantees a call back within 90 seconds.

Namola has over 80 000 downloads and plans to go national are to be announced soon.

We must embrace technology and move with the times. If not, we are going to be left behind!

The Gauteng Community Safety Department is using Namola as part of a pilot project. The Stellenbosch Municipality also introduced it.

The Tshwane Metro Police Dept was the first to start Namola.

Victims of crime need speedy responses from authorities.

Police must ensure that they get the 10111 service up to standard. If they can’t, they should consider privatizing it and we will perhaps see what a difference that makes.

#MakeSAsafe

First published by GroundUp 

Striking 10111 police emergency call centre workers marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Monday. About 200 workers affiliated with the South African Policing Union (Sapu) and its labour federation, the SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu), gathered at the Pretoria Art Museum and made their way through the streets. They are calling for an increase in wages.

 

The workers started strike action in mid-July. They have already demonstrated outside the offices of the National Police Commissioner and the Minister of Police. This time they took their demands to the Presidency.

 

Percy Samkelo, a call centre operator in Gauteng, said that although the strike was lasting much longer than he had anticipated, he was determined to stay the course. He said the strike is having a negative impact on policing, but the workers had exhausted all other options at their disposal. Downing phones had been a last resort.

 

We know that the police service is suffering because of the strike. That is why we want this issue sorted out as quickly as possible as we also wish to return to work so that we can assist in helping people,” said Samkelo.

 

Sapu says it wants its members’ salaries to match those of call centre workers in other departments such as Home Affairs, Sassa, SARS and the Presidential Hotline, who it says get paid about R50,000 per annum more. 

 

Former police commissioner Riah Phiyega had formed a task team to look into the matter. Its report recommended the salary level increase. Workers accuse the police minister and acting police commissioner of failing to implement the recommendations.

 

Protesting workers were led onto the lawns of the Union Building by leaders of Sapu and watched closely by a sizeable contingent of police officers. The gate leading up to the Union Buildings was closed. Union leaders handed over their memorandum to a representative from the Presidency.

 

Saftu general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi addressed the protesting workers. “The demand for a level seven salary has long ago been agreed to by police management. They conceded that your demands are just and fair and so this continuing strike is unnecessary,” Vavi said.

 

We are paying for the mistakes of putting clowns here in this building,” said Vavi, and pointed to the Union Buildings behind him. “They are self-serving crooks who have no time for anyone else except for themselves and their families.”

 

Sapu deputy president Tumelo Mogodiseng said current police minister Fikile Mbalula is more concerned about being popular on social media then attending to workers’ concerns. “The minister does not have time for our members. He is busy tweeting and busy on Facebook,” said Mogodiseng. “We are calling on President Zuma to recall Minister Mbalula. He must go back to sports.”

 

The South African Police Service (SAPS) has brought an application at the Labour Court to stop what it claims is intimidation of call centre workers by Sapu.

 

Sapu stated that it is considering legal action against SAPS for what it claims are threats of disciplinary charges if the strike continues.

 

The memorandum of demands was received and signed by Calvin Humbles from the office of the President. He said that the document would be forwarded to the correct people and that a response would be issued in seven working days. DM

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador 

Twitter: @abramjee

#AirportFollowings

A security company has distanced itself from the arrest of one of its managers for the #AirportFollowings

Police made the breakthrough at the weekend following an incident on Thursday evening where a group of Iraqi visitors were robbed.

One has to ask if the security company had all the measures in place to check on their employees. Clearly not!

#MakeSAsafe

News 24 report: 

Johannesburg – Mafoko Security Patrols has distanced itself from the arrest over the weekend of one of its managers in the so-called “airport-follow” robberies. 

“We had no prior knowledge of their actions and we were not aware that our vehicles were misused for the commission of these crimes,” the company said in a statement on Monday. 

Police spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo said the breakthrough of the arrests came on Friday evening. 

Naidoo said the team, who acted on information, monitored a security vehicle and discovered that this vehicle, which is contracted to work at OR Tambo International Airport (ORTIA), was following a sedan from ORTIA travelling towards Sandton. 

Police stopped the security vehicle with two men in. Naidoo said one of the men, a security manager, was wanted for a case of possession of an unlicensed firearm and an armed robbery in the Limpopo province.

Both were arrested on the scene. 

The security company said the two men acted in their own personal capacity and that the men were not deployed to the airport. 

“Their line of work does not include that particular site. The alleged ‘security company manager’ was deployed elsewhere and his line of work required that he be provided with a marked security vehicle at all times, a privilege which he has clearly abused.”
 
Four other men were arrested in Hillbrow during the early hours of Saturday morning. All six suspects are between 23 and 38 years of age. They are expected to appear in court on Monday.

A seventh suspect was still at large. 

Police found several incriminating items, including the security vehicle, a sedan, passports, at least 15 cellular phones and several luggage bags during the arrests in Hillbrow. 

Two pistols had also been recovered and sent for ballistic testing to establish which crimes, if any, they might have been used in.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador 

Twitter: @abramjee

We need to find solutions to crime and we need YOUR support, writes Yusuf Abramjee

 South Africans are increasingly becoming fed-up with the high levels of crime.

I say it again: We cannot give up. Leaving South Africa is not the answer.

While we whine, complain and point fingers, we have to start acting and be pro-active.

We need to find solutions and we need to DO our bit to #MakeSAsafe

Now is the time! Together, we can make a difference.

Every small effort will go a long way to assist. Every citizen has a role to play.

The government must strengthen partnerships and it’s a pity they are slow in mobilizing.

We must, therefore, take the lead!

I recently announced that we will be launching a new NPO focusing on pro-active ways to making our country safe.

We will support communities where we can. But, we cannot do it without your help!

They say “cash is king”. Every rand you donate will go a long way for us to be able to assist communities.

Happimo NPO has a 100% donation policy.

We want to assist civilian criminal crime-fighting bodies to provide safer neighbourhoods: from investing the money to buy drones, reflective jackets and equipment to support our men and women in blue on specific projects.

When cops die in the line of duty, their families often find it difficult to pay the basic funeral costs.

Donations depending, we will be able to assist. I have done it before in my previous capacities and we need to do it again.

The Gauteng Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, is supporting this.

We also need to find other specific projects to support and YOU can drive it.

We will invest in technology. The Namola Safety App has over 80 000 downloads already and soon we will be going national. In an emergency, press the panic button and get a call-back within 90 seconds. We will also announce details in early November of a corporate partner and media partnerships.

It’s good to see some companies investing money to #MakeSAsafe – they realize that crime is affecting all of us and they have to invest into the future. We need to galvanize other corporates also. Come on CEO’s!

You can contribute online and even make a monthly subscription:

https://www.givengain.com/cc/makesasafe/#

 

Let’s join hands and #MakeSAsafe

It’s time to start rolling up our sleeves.

From Happimo:

Crime Activist Yusuf Abramjee has dedicated his life to actively doing something about crime in South Africa rather than just talking about it. 

The former head of Crime Line and former Lead SA executive, Yusuf has played a significant role in making this country a better and safer place for all citizens. 

Through Happimo NPO, the non-profit dedicated to developing crime-fighting solutions, Yusuf now calls on all South Africans to help #MakeSAsafe.

We have a 100% donation policy. All money raised will be used to assist in the fight again crime: from technology to assisting law enforcement, CPF’s and neighbourhood watches.

*Yusuf Abramjee is an anti-crime activist and Namola’s Chief Ambassador 

Twitter: @abramjee