Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The situation in Rustenburg was still tense on Friday but the police said they were on high alert after six buildings were torched earlier in the week.

"The situation is still tense but the police are present there. We have the situation under control and we continue to call on the communities to keep calm‚" police spokesperson Brig Vish Naidoo told Talk Radio 702.

Rustenburg came to a standstill on Wednesday afternoon when more than 50 community members went on a rampage‚ burning buildings that are believed to be drug dens.

The police said it was possible that the outrage was sparked by the arrest of a man who had allegedly raped a teenager, as well as the arrest of a police officer who was found in possession of drugs at the same place.

Naidoo said drugs and alcohol remained the biggest contributors to crime countrywide.

"Most of our arrests in December were related to drug and alcohol abuse."

He said the police had to identify the drug dens that had created problems in Rustenburg and bring those implicated to book.

"People who can help us do this are community members. We continuously ask communities to get involved‚ be our eyes and ears‚ give us information so that we can do the necessary to bring these people to book."

On claims that the police have been given information on drug dealers but have not been doing anything about it‚ Naidoo said: "We do sometimes get that complaint. You will hear very soon once we consolidate our successes for the festive season operations. There is a lot of work being done. You will have those isolated incidents where police are not acting. We won’t tolerate our members not responding to legitimate complaints by the public."

He said the police understood the frustration of the community of Rustenburg, but urge it to work with community policing forums and other community structures to tackle the drug problem in the town.

"Resorting to vigilantism makes the communities no different from those very drug lords that are alleged to be committing those initial crimes."