Cop shops for troubled townships on cards

Xolani Joja, secretary of the Community Policing Forum (CPF) and the spokesperson for the CPF, Bongani Maqungwana, said they have made it clear that the residents want a police station immediately.

A fourth police station for Khayelitsha, as well as one in Samora Machel are on the cards.

The three existing police stations serving Khayelitsha are Harare, Khayelitsha and Lingelethu.

The plans for the two new stations were revealed by Police Minister Bheki Cele during his budget speech in Parliament last week.

He said funds had been set aside for the construction of new station in Samora and Makhaza. Construction for the Makhaza station is expected to start next year, while Samora is expected to commence in 2020.

They will be completed in 2022 and 2023 respectively.

He said temporary stations would be erected in the meantime.

“I have directed that all supply chain management processes applicable to the building of Samora Machel, Makhaza and Tafelsig in Mtchell’s plain police stations be completed during this financial year,” he said.

“It is our intention that the construction of the three police stations be prioritised and completed within the next three years.”

While the announcement could be seen as a positive step by many, community leaders in the two communities have expressed their disappointment at the timelines .

Spokesperson for the Samora Machel Community Policing Forum (CPF), Bongani Maqungwana, said it was disappointing that a police station would only be built in two years.

He said since 2002 they had made numerous calls for construction of a police station and complained that it seemed neighbouring Mitchell’s Plain had been prioritised when it came to building new police stations.

Mr Maqungwana said Samora was the second highest contributor to crime in the Nyanga policing precinct, behind Browns Farm. “We don’t have a problem with the minister, but we have a problem with the management of the police.

“The management has been delaying the construction of the station for years.

“ Crime is rife here. If a station can’t be built this year we therefore call for a temporary station. Nyanga police station can never be able to service all these areas,” he said.

Mr Maqungwana said in 2008 containers were erected and converted into a satellite police station. He said they applauded the move and thought that the ministry would quickly build a police station.

“But he said they were shocked when they recently discovered that the police officers were being moved back to Nyanga police station.

Chairperson of the Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF), Ndithini Tyhido, said they welcomed the announcement, but were disappointed that the station would only be built next year. He said the current three police stations in Khayelitsha were under immense pressure.

He also criticised police management for failing to implement important decisions to improve policing.