Call for Khwezi lanes to be closed

The Galaxy Crescent lane is a crime hotspot, say residents.
Khwezi community leaders believe crime will drop if the lanes linking their community to Site C and Driftsands are closed.

Khwezi residents have described four lanes linking their community to Site C and Driftsands as crime hotspots and want them to be closed off.

Two lanes are situated at Galaxy Crescent and two are in Moondust Street.

Residents said the lanes are the only entrances into their neighbourhood and criminals used them as a getaway after committing crimes.

Community leader, Nonzamne Sili, said people coming home from work are being attacked in the lanes.

She said people who are going to a nearby shopping centre use the lanes as a shortcut and this gives criminals the perfect opportunity to scope out their homes.

She said crime has escalated in their area and they no longer feel safe; children cannot walk freely in the area carrying their cellphones in their hands or listen to music on their earphones because they might be robbed.

However, Ms Sili believes these criminals are not from their area.

She said someone had been hijacked in their area recently which was not something that often happened.

The leadership and residents had taken a decision to have the lanes closed.

“We strongly feel that if these passages could be closed the crime incidents would drop. We are appealing to the City to assist us in ensuring that they’re closed.

“We believe that if we do not do anything about these passages now, maybe these incidents of crime will escalate. The residents had tried to acquire the services of a local builder but the cost of material is too high,” she said.

One of the residents who was recently mugged in one of the lanes shared his story with Vukani.

He wanted to remain anonymous as he feared for his life. He said last Tuesday at around 5pm he was coming from work when he opted to use the lane in Galaxy Crescent. He was accosted by three criminals who stabbed him and took his belongings. There was a tussle but they overpowered him and he was stabbed on his right arm.

Khayelitsha police station spokeperson Constable Lowellan West confirmed the lanes are crime hotspots. He said as soon as criminals spot police vans driving towards these lanes they quickly ran. But he said they have opted to do foot patrols in the area and some times they patrol with members of metro police.

City of Cape Town spokesperson, Luthando Tyhalibongo, said the lanes exist for pedestrian access to and from areas and to improve accessibility for pedestrians.

He said they have no record of a request to close these lanes. “There is a standard operating procedure for lane closures which includes a public participation process, possible lease agreements, sourcing of funding and ultimately getting Council approval for the closures.

“The residents must clearly identify the locations and submit a request to the specific sub-council for investigation. The request will then be forwarded to all relevant departments for comment,” he said.

He added that by closing lanes, pedestrian “walking time” increases and detours need to be taken.