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News : Long Wait After 10111 Call Questioned
Durban, Nov 18, 2013 -- The Amanzimtoti Community Crime Prevention Organisation (CCPO) will be demanding answers from the SAPS after it took police more than 40 minutes to respond to an emergency call, reporting the brutal assault and murder of an elderly woman.
It also said if police had responded faster, the suspects could have been caught.
Eddna Jumaima Botha, 75, was murdered in her Athlone home early on Saturday after four men broke in. The grandmother of five was hacked to death. Her husband, Braam Botha, a former Daily News printing technician, is partly blind and disabled.
Police spokesman Colonel Jay Naicker said on Sunday that no arrests had been made, but detectives were looking for four suspects.
According to CCPO members who were called to the scene by a neighbour, when they dialled 10111 the emergency operator requested specific information about the victim, which they did not have.
"More than one call was made by our members who were quick to attend the scene. Our control room is operated through Blue Security, so the operator should have known that it was a serious call and not a prank," said the chairman, Robert Allkins.
It took police 40 minutes to respond and Allkins said the suspects could have been caught in that time. "A member of the CCPO who arrived at the scene pursued two suspects who ran into the nearby bush, and managed to get away with the other two suspects.
We will be taking this issue up with SAPS. We do work very closely with them, so I am sure we will be able to get answers."
Naicker said police had been dispatched to the scene. "We are unaware of the allegations that the 10111 call centre did not dispatch anyone and we request those that made the allegations to come forward so that we can investigate them."
He said the police advised people to keep all emergency numbers at hand, including police and ambulance numbers.
"Test these numbers regularly, especially if you are using cellphone technology, as we have found in many instances that these numbers are not programmed by the telephone service provider and those calls could be directed to other police stations in the province, or even out of the province," Naicker said.
In May, the 10111 emergency call centre came under fire after it was revealed that no calls had been recorded for the past six months, because the centre’s equipment was out of order.
At the time the SAPS blamed the failure to record calls on construction at the centre.
And in March, a South Coast woman’s cry for help while she and her family were being held by robbers was logged as a hoax by the 10111 emergency line operator.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Tuesday, November 19, 2013