By Poloko Tau
Metro cops, SA Police Service officers and sniffer dogs have been out in force in Randburg, in a blitz that targeted unroadworthy vehicles, drug users and the disorderly.
Police set up five roadblocks across the Randburg CBD on Wednesday morning, stopping and searching some 1 200 vehicles.
Roadblocks were set up on Jan Smuts Road and Bram Fischer Drive, a route used by minibus taxis.
Metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said two men had been arrested for possession of dagga, while three found themselves behind bars for being drunk and disorderly.
He said a further five people were arrested for being suspected illegal foreigners.
Five taxi owners had their vehicles deemed unroadworthy.
"Owners will have to repair the taxis and take them for roadworthy testing before they can be allowed back on public roads again," Minnaar said.
"Not only taxi drivers felt the sting, as we issued 269 fines for a variety of offences, including unlicensed drivers, smooth tyres, expired PDPs (professional driving permits) and failure to wear seatbelts."
Minnaar said the focus of the operation was to maintain visible policing in the Randburg area.
He said there had been a public outcry over illegal taxi ranks that caused traffic blockages.
"We were also looking for illegal firearms, although we found none. However, after the roadblocks we were happy with our work, especially since we were only beginning, as there will be follow-up operations in the same area soon," he said.
Local councillor Alison Claire van der Molen commended police for their work, but also expressed her wish that such operations should happen more often.
"The neighbourhood has suffered tremendously from the long-standing problems we have had in the Randburg CBD, especially from taxi drivers," she said.
"We have had people fixing vehicles and washing them on pavements, with all the litter coming from this, which is very bad for the environment. We hope these police operations will be maintained."
- This article was originally published on page 6 of The Star on September 18, 2008