BULGERIVIER — Captain PZ Ramaotswa (49) is the new Station Commander at Bulgerivier Police Station and has been since 1 September 2016. Before his appointment, he was a member of Soekmekaar Police.
Capt Ramaotswa says when he saw Bulgerivier Police Station for the first time, he knew it was a good place to be. It is a nice building, neat and clean with green lawns. He currently lives alone in a house on the premises as his wife, Refilwe, is still in Botlokwa, around 50 km from Polokwane.
It is his eldest son’s last year in Rampo School, therefore his family decided to stay there at least until the end of the year. He is the father of five children aged 18, 15, 11 and four-year-old twins.
His dream is that the community and the police will work together as a team to fight crime. “I want to work with the community to reduce farm attacks and rhino poaching”.
He also knows that Bulgerivier is next to a road that goes all the way to the border, so illegal smuggling is a problem they often experience.
Capt Ramaotswa also knows the importance of dedicated staff members. (There are only 14 staff members working at Bulgerivier Police Station). He says there are not enough staff members to, for instance, be available for special services. In cases of special operations or services, they have to get staff from nearby stations such as Hoopdal and Cumberland.
As Bulgerivier Police falls under Lephalale Cluster, their plans for the festive season have to be directed by the Lephalale team.
Capt Ramaotswa says their team does stop and search operations on a daily basis and that this is also a way to get to know the farmers in the area. Most cases at Bulgerivier originate on farms. Another reason why he believes in stop and search operations, is that he thinks the Police need to be seen by the people. “Criminals must know that we are alert, awake and visible”.
He also wants to speak to the public and warn them not to take the law into their own hands. “I want the community to know that we are partners in the fight against crime and we will have to get structures in place to help each other” he says.
In his opinion a huge challenge is that the police are not familiar with the farms in the area and if they are called out, they get lost on the farm. “There are always a lot of different roads on a farm and if you don’t know which road to take, you can drive around for hours without finding the crime scene” he said. He made a suggestion to farmers in the area to contact him and invite him to the farm. “They can show me around so that I can get an idea of the layout of the farm as well as which road to take in case of emergency”. He also thanked the farmers for numbering the farms as it already makes a difference to the police when they have to search for a farm.
He finally urges farmers not to employ workers and then chase them away if things don’t work out. “Rather sort problems out and if you employ workers from foreign countries, call the police to profile them, to take fingerprints, get contact numbers from their next of kin and to get identification numbers” he concluded.