Efforts by the City of Cape Town and other law enforcement agencies to root out lawlessness and crime around one of Khayelitsha’s popular social spots, Epakini, are failing to yield the desired results.
The popular spot, on Spine Road – a few metres from Khayelitsha’s best-known tourist attraction, the Lookout Hill – is a hit with revellers around Khayelitsha, especially over the weekend.
However, over the years, it has attracted a lot of negative elements and publicity, with claims of crime and public indecency, where young people engage in sexual activities in public. These have angered property owners.
They say they no longer sleep in peace because of blaring music and noise until the early hours on weekends.
Revellers also defecate and urinate against their walls, causing an unbearable stench. All this happens under the noses of the Lingelethu West police station officers they say.
In an interview with Vukani, disgusted residents said that every morning they had to pick up used condoms and empty alcohol bottles outside their homes.
They are worried that the situation could devalue their properties.
Resident Bongani Dube said the situation was frustrating and was a health hazard. He said criminals also used their area to dump stolen vehicles. He said their children were unable to focus on their studies because of all the destruction. He described the festive season and month-ends as problematic periods.
Mr Dube said in some cases revellers blocked entrances to their homes.
“These people are also drinking in public but that is prohibited. We have seen some people who come with bakkies and sell alcohol here,” he said.
He added that the situation had also fuelled break-ins in the area.
Mr Dube said that four years ago they held a community dialogue with different community stakeholders, including officials from the City, to look for solutions. He said it was agreed that the law enforcement officers would monitor the place and force people to leave the area before 9pm.
He claimed they had, however, only patrolled once and never returned.
Another resident David Pikane, said that in most cases they had to clean human excrement from their yards. He said they were pleading with the law enforcement officers to remove people there at least by 9pm.
Mayoral committee member for area east, councillor Anda Ntsodo, said the City and SAPS continued to monitor the area. He said during the last joint operation, on Friday March 3, officers saturated the area from 4pm until midnight. They issued 301 fines for various transgressions, as well as five compliance notices for transgressions of the liquor law.
He said 18 people were arrested for drunk driving.
“I will also engage with all the affected residents to try and find a solution, including approaching the landowner about the possibility of fencing off the open space to deter such gatherings.While we commiserate with the surrounding residents, I appeal to them to work with the authorities to clamp down on this type of behaviour,” he said.