As Gugulethu residents mark the area’s 60th anniversary, various NGOs, churches and the police have joined hands in the quest to combat crime.
Residents appealed for calm and peace, while also celebrating the pride they felt for the area, during a mass prayer held on Thursday January 25, at the Gugulethu Sports Complex.
They condemned police killings, rape, teenage pregnancy and the abuse of drugs.
Gugulethu police said they are struggling to win the war against crime and called on residents and church leaders to help them.
All the speakers agreed that crimes such as domestic violence, police killings, rape and robbery were rife in Gugulethu.
Deputy Minister of Police, Bongani Mkongi, said practical steps were being taken to solve crime in the area.
“This is a launch to revive Gugulethu. We feel that criminals are roaming our streets. This is something that we will not tolerate. We have to deal with the taxi rank in Eyona. We know that amaphela are robbing people,” he said.
Mr Mkongi appealed to Mayor Patricia de Lille to deploy more City police in the townships. “Those police should not sit in the city, but to also rid crime in the streets. But we are also praying to minimise the killing of police which looks common in the area.”
Mr Mkongi said unemployment was a huge challenge facing the area.
He said it drove young people to commit crime and drugs.
However, he said he was hopeful that the Gugulethu Development Forum (GDF) and other stakeholders would assist young people in the area.
Mr Mkongi also called on residents to rebuild civic organisations and street committees. He said police should fight fire with fire when dealing with criminals. “We gave the guns. When a criminal raises their hands with a gun, police should not look away but respond by firing. We cannot lose our members cheaply to criminals. Rid our streets of criminals,” he said.
Ms De Lille admitted that the issue of crime was out of control. She called on everyone to unite against it .
She said the deployment of the City police was not guaranteed. “We need to work together. We know our youth are in drugs and crime because of the social problems and lack of jobs. But there is certainly not enough police in the City of Cape Town,” she said.
Samora Nompunga, chairperson of the GDF, said in the 60 years of its existence, Gugulethu was yet to claim its pride.
He said it was about time that residents got up and fought crime.
He said they had a series of programmes planned for the year, and hoped that things would improve for the area.
Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Major General Mpumelelo Manci, appealed to residents to work with police. He said police worked under difficult conditions and were also human beings.
“Police are public assets. They are the eyes for the nation. They need to be protected too, by the residents they are protecting.”
He said it was about time that everyone help in the fight against crime.