In what has been described as a turning point in a community grappling with violent crime, high-levels of Gender Based Violence (GBV) alcohol and drug abuse, residents of Khayelistha are forging stronger ties with law enforcement to keep their community safe.
In a crime Imbizo with Police Minister Bheki Cele, community policing structures in the Cape Town township, called on the provincial and national government for more support to do their work.
Police Deputy Minister, Cassel Mathale and SAPS management, led by the National Commissioner, General Fannie Masemola, were also at the meeting.
Non-profit organisations (NGOs) councillors, representatives of traditional and religious fraternity, safety experts and stakeholders from the Western Cape province, engage residents on safety and security issues. Also in attendance were MEC of Community Safety in the province Regan Allen and officials from the department and provincial government.
Police Ministry Lirandzu Themba said the engagement with the community was aimed at revitalising community policing through empowering of the local CPF, neighbourhood watch, community patrollers and other interested stakeholders.
“[It] also served as a platform for the provincial and national government to update the community of the work in progress to address their safety needs,” she said.
Responding to the calls by the Khayelistha community to improve policing in the area, Minister Cele revealed that the SAPS in the province is shifting resources to tackle crime.
“We are moving resources from where they least needed to where they are needed most in this province. This is why 80 officers have now been shifted from more affluent areas where crime is under control or in some instances non-existent and moved to high priority stations such as Khayelitsha. We believe this shift will assist heavily in proactive and reactive policing.”
The Minister said the assistance of community patrollers, CPFs and neighbourhood watches must be ramped up urgently.
“It doesn’t make sense why these foot soldiers must use their own airtime and own resources to help fight crime. It simply can’t be the norm and this is why I have called on the National Commissioner to look at funding these structures so they can be effective in their work.”
In the interim, MEC Allen is committed to providing the much needed resources to the community policing structures.
“We won’t be able to make this province safer without the neighbourhood watches, community patrollers and other community structures that play an active role in safeguarding their communities, even with the little they have… as local government we are committing ourselves to ramping up our support by providing extra reflective jackets and boots used during patrolling, we believe this will go a long way in the everyday work of the these community structures.”
General Masemola updated the community on the plans to build an additional police station to service the growing community. Construction of the station will begin in November.
The provision of stipends for community policing structures across the country, is currently under consideration by the management of the SAPS and other concerned stakeholders.