In a meeting with religious leaders, councillors and neighbourhood watch members, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula conceded that more needed to be done to beef up service delivery.
He also promised to sort out some of the challenges faced by the police station in Nyanga, an area which has the notorious reputation of being the country’s murder capital.
Addressing an imbizo at Zolani Centre, in Nyanga, on Wednesday May 24, Mr Mbalula attributed some of the challenges faced by his department to the shortage of police personnel, but urged the police to do their best to serve their communities, regardless. At the same time he instructed police to be harsh when dealing with criminals.
The gathering was also attended by youth organisations from areas such as Samora Machel, Crossroads, Philippi and Philippi East.
Mr Mbalula acknowledged some flaws in police and assured the residents that his department remained committed to improving its service to the community.
He said in the next two weeks there would be clarity regarding the request to build a second police station in Nyanga.
“I do not want to make people promises I (cannot) deliver on. We are here not because it is business as usual. It is business unusual. We are here because there is a huge challenge here in Nyanga. That means tsotsis are having a nice time here. We must be on the ground. We do not have resources, but we must work with what we have. With 100 police officers, there must be action. We need to raid tsotsis. Tsotsis should always be harassed,” he said.
Mr Mbalula called for a healthy working relationship between police and the community and encouraged residents to report criminal activity.“In the next two weeks there must be a clarity about the police station. We are dealing with that. But I want to say to the police, let us attend to the basics. Station commanders must take over their police stations. They need to be strong and lead like the olden days teachers,” he said.
Western Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Khombinkosi Jula promised to step up police visibility and denied claims that there was a shortage of police vehicles in the area. “I want to assure you that we have enough vehicles. Nyanga has 76 vehicles and the cluster has 318,” he said.
Nyanga Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson, Sandile Martin, however, was not impressed, saying that over the years there had been many imbizos but no action.
“The issues are the same. We are still complaining about the same crime that we complained about some years back. We have been saying we need a second police station because Nyanga is big. We have been saying Brown’s Farm contributes a lot of crime. Samora Machel on its own is a huge area. We have detectives that have huge workloads. One detective is probably sitting with 600 to 800 dockets in a congested office. Then you ask yourself how possible it is to work under such conditions,” he said.
Bongani Maqungwana, from the Nyanga Cluster CPF, said it was frustrating for police to drive vehicles which were 15 or more years old.