Makhaza residents and community leaders thought that their years-long pleas for a police station were falling on deaf ears but last week they breathed a sigh of relief when the national police ministry earmarked a site for a temporary prefab station.
The news was met with excitement when it was announced on Tuesday March 28 at an event opposite the Makhaza shopping centre.
Makhaza is currently serviced by the already over-stretched Harare police station which is about 5km away.
Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF) chairperson, Ndithini Leon Tyhido, said it was an exciting moment for Khayelitsha because the struggle for a police station has been dragging on for more than 10 years. He said the station had first been promised when the ANC government was still governing the province.
In areas where there are police stations, crime goes down and they are hoping for the same will happen in Makhaza, he said.
The prefabs are expected to be complete in October.
“We are calling on the community to safeguard this project. No day should be lost because of community bickering – not after this long battle. As community structures we are not in competition and it should not be the matter of which organisation has been in existence longer than others but we should pull together and recognise the efforts of others,” he said.
“I have raised this matter to a number of police ministers and commissioners. But I appeal to the community not to halt this project because some people did not get the opportunity to be employed and not everyone from Makhaza will be employed here.”
Mr Tyhido said he feels overwhelmed and emotional that this is finally happening and credited Codeta for protecting the earmarked space from land invasion.
Ward councillor, Lucky Mbiza, said the community of Makhaza had been “crying” for a police station, which is a basic service.
He said the temporary police station at Makhaza shopping centre was ineffective because the mall closed at 6pm. Furthermore, eight of the 10 promised police vehicles for the temporary station never materialised.
Resident Nokulunga Vakaza said she was extremely happy that there is a progress about after so many years of fighting. Ms Vakaza said she had never thought this day would come because there had been so many empty promises made.