While a war of words rage between Community Safety MEC Dan Plato and provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer, over 100 Nyanga informal settlements residents marched to the Nyanga police station yesterday, accusing cops of failing to do their job
Residents said the police station “is as good as dead’ as police officers as cops did almost nothing to protect the area.
The marchers demanded the police station to be closed, saying criminals are running rampant anyway.
“This police station is dead. Not so long ago a man was killed here, no one has been arrested. As if that was not enough two cops were also killed, this proves that this area has criminals,” residents shouted outside police station.
Buziwe Masoko, from Mau-Mau informal settlement, said when criminals broke in her house she called cops who only arrived the next morning to take finger prints.
“Ever since then I never saw cops. My house has been broken into more than three times … they are useless,” said Masoko.
Marcher Ntobeko Ningi said the reason residents decided to march was because they though since two police officers were shot, one of the fatally, in Nyanga on Monday night, police might now show some interest in combating crime.
“We had several meetings in the police station but nothing positive came out of them, maybe now that one of them has been killed they will start to act. This should prove to them that Nyanga is not a safe area,” said Ningi.
The march to Nyanga police station was the third such march to Cape Town police stations in the space of a week.
On Monday YAB informal settlement residents marched to the Khayelitsha police station accusing police of not doing their job. The following day S-informal settlement residents marched to the same police station, accusing cops of acting rapidly to protect criminal from neighbourhood watch patrols while failing to protect innocent people.
On Wednesday Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith accused police leaders and the National government of doing everything in their power to prevent the Western Cape from winning the battle against gangs and crime, an accusation which caused Cosatu provincial leader Tony Ehrenreich to call for his resignation.
Meanwhile, the Social Justice Coalition has released a statement saying that in less than two weeks the SJC will be in the Constitutional Court challenging the Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa’s appeal to stop the O’Regan Commission of Inquiry into policing in Khayelitsha.
The SJC contends that 360 people were murdered in Khayelitsha last year, a murder rate more than twice the national average.
The SJC contends people live in fear of falling victim to crime and violence, especially in informal settlements where going to a toilet can result in theft, assault, rape and death.
They say this is a severe lack of faith in the police and the criminal justice system to protect residents from harm, combat and investigate crime, and provide justice.
No response from the Nyanga police station was forthcoming yesterday. — Nombulelo Damba