For many years Nyanga has battled with crimes such as murder, drugs and taxi violence, but that could soon be a thing of the past, if residents have it their way. The Nyanga Community Police Forum (CPF) has partnered with the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and police to find a lasting solution to the challenges facing the area.
While the nation marked Youth Day on Friday June 16, action groups in Nyanga declared war against crime.
The groups, including NGOs, held a dialogue at the Ndibonge Presbyterian Church.
A range of issues were raised, with some claiming police needed to be more effective in crime fighting. But police also appealed to people to play their part.
SAHRC commissioner Chris Nissen commended the groups for taking their time to discuss issues of national importance.
“As a collective we have to deal with these issues. What is happening in Nyanga is not here alone. A lot of our areas have similar challenges. I am happy today to declared war on crime,” he said.
Reverend Nissen called on the government to bring back police reservists. He said police carried a burden on their shoulders. He said police have a lot of unresolved cases and dockets.
He said criminals were freely roaming the streets, something that should not be happening. “We need to invest in youth. I agree that as the agents of change we need to get into one room and discuss issues. We will succeed as a collective,” he said.
The CPF said there were some positives in the fight against crime. It said the approval of a new police station in Samora Machel would help in the fight.
CPF chairperson Martin Makhasi appealed to all NGOs for help.
“The truth is the democratic government has failed us in crime fighting. We are here to appeal that we stand together to reduce crime in Nyanga. We want a Nyanga that our children can live, work and play in without fear,” he said.
Nyanga police station commander Brigadier Vuyisile Ncata said he hoped the dialogue would help. He said as police they were desperate to find a working solution. He said police had a serious problem with the high murder rate, but were committed in the fight against crime. “I see the light now. I am positive about the future of Nyanga, but a lot needs to be done. I am optimistic about the future. We are lucky to have a CPF that is truly committed,” he said.
Brigadier Ncata said it was disturbing that police could not provide a service in the informal settlements, where it was needed most. He attributed that to how the areas were structured, without roads, streets and lights.
Dan Plato, Community Safety MEC, encouraged the idea of a dialogue. He said it was important to continue engaging with one another. “We are still grappling with hunger, poverty, human trafficking, gangsterism, unemployment and satanism activities. We really need such dialogues,” he said.