Following a spate of killings in the Philippi East area, mainly in Marikana, new Philippi East police station commander Colonel Bongani Mtakati, has warned criminals to find another place for their activities.
He said police had taken swift action to make the entire neighbourhood safe.
Colonel Mtakati, with 40 extra police officers, moved into the area recently to bolster the fight against crime. He replaced Colonel Vuyisile Payi after the killing of 11 people in Marikana three weeks ago (“Marikana in mourning” Vukani October 5).
He has been brought in to “restore” public trust in the police service, according to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula.
Speaking to Vukani on Friday October 13, Colonel Mtakati said he had identified several problems in the area. These included broken trust between police and the community.
“We are determined to keep the whole Philippi East safe. I am working hard to try to mend the relationship with residents. I have made sure that we go out to the community and speak to people,” he said.
Colonel Mtakati said there wern’t enough recognised community structures. “We are now hard at work recruiting neighbourhood watch members,” he told Vukani.
Colonel Mtakati called for active-participation by everyone to root out crime and said criminals’ days were numbered. “There is no place for criminals here,” he said.
“We have plans to drive them out or arrest them. All we need is a peaceful place where people would live, play and work peacefully. We are working closely with the community and they have bought the idea.”
Colonel Mtakati added that police had begun night patrols and he was adamant crime would decrease.
“We are engaging the City of Cape Town to provide street lights even in Marikana. Those negotiations are continuing. We are positive that we will be given those lights,” he said.
Chairperson of the Philippi East Community Police Forum, Wendy Bikauri welcomed the new commander.
She said they were working with the police to root out criminals, even though there were still some fears among residents.
“I am happy. He leads from the front. But we are in a processes of recruiting a new policing forum.
“We call on the community and non governmental organisations to contact the police station. In the past there has been miscommunication within the CPF,” she said, stressing the need for a new CPF.