Inner City rangers adding muscle to policing crime in PE CBD



The concept of Town Rangers is not new in NMBM. You will be surprised to know that the NMBM. The major difference is the area of focus and responsibility. The short answer is YES, the MBDA has three town rangers, two in the CBD of PE and one in the CBD of Uitenhage. Their major area of operation is the observance and enforcement of informal trading regulations and bylaws. In executing this function the rangers work hand in hand with law enforcement bodies like SAPS, Metro Police and the Private Security firms. So Sicelo Zalabe and Philinda Reid (the two rangers) liaise with all informal traders in Govan Mbeki Avenue (between City Hall and Russell Road). They patrol the area for illegal trade, counterfeit goods and criminal activity. The Rangers are the first port of call for business owners and traders when acts of crime are being suspected or have occurred because the rangers are constantly on the ground. They are able to react quicker to contain situations.

How is their role different from that of the Metro police and other law enforcement agencies?
The Rangers are peace officers with security training however they are not equipped to make arrests other than the ordinary Citizen’s arrest. This is how they complement the work of the established Police services. Through radio communication, the rangers are able to call in SAPS or Metro Police. The rangers also have access to the CCTV ops rooms where crime monitoring is driven from. So the role is supportive and also focused mostly on Informal Trading.

How many rangers are there – and how can people identify them?
As discussed we have three rangers between PE and Uitenhage.
The question of identification is a tough one because we want them to operate anonymously but through stakeholder engagement, the traders and business know them and know how to get hold of them. I guess we don’t really want to them to be that visible so they can do their jobs effectively. We are considering a security type uniform but that is still up for consideration.

Town Ranger Sicelo Zalabe recovering stolen public art from a warehouse
Town Ranger Sicelo Zalabe recovering stolen public art from a warehouse

Sicelo Zalabe, age 46
+13 years in Military Police
+8 years with the MBDA
Area of responsibility – PE inner city informal trading

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