Residents build wall to block criminals

Residents of Khwezi Park built a wall to block access to an alleyway at Galaxy Crescent which was being used by criminals.

Kwezi Park residents walled off an alley linking it to Site C and Driftsands on Sunday August 29 after a spate of crime in the area.

Residents told Vukani that crime had sky-rocketed and criminals were using alleyways as escape routes. The Galaxy Crescent alley was particularly problematic, they said.

Community Leader, Nomzame Sili, said residents had had enough of living in fear and the wall had been a last resort.

“We just want to live in a peace in our area and nothing else. Criminals are terrorising us,” she said. “The police are also not patrolling regularly here because if they did, I believe that crime would not be happening at this rate. We want this place to return to its normality.

But residents’ hope that the new wall would keep them safe was short-lived. By the next day, the wall had been broken down.

The wall was demolished a day after residents built it.

Undeterred, residents rebuilt it. Ms Sili said they were prepared to stay up at night to guard the wall and watch the cement dry.

“We are going to continue building these walls. Our children can’t even walk with their phones in their hands because they might be snatched. We feel that the criminals are constantly watching our movements,” she said.

The residents rebuilt the wall and have vowed to protect it.

She said criminals were also using the alley to lure e-hailing cabs. Criminals would request cabs and use the alley as a pick-up point but when the cab arrived they would smash the windows and rob the driver before disappearing into Site C.

Khayelitsha police station spokesperson, Constable Lowellan West said they were aware of the wall. He confirmed that alleys were crime hotspots and that SAPS, the SANDF and law enforcement did foot patrols in the area but could not be there all the time.

Police had advised residents to consult the City about closing the alley, he said.

Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Rob Quintas, said the wall was “illegal”. He said residents need to formally request an alley closure through the sub council. All departments would then be consulted and a possible lease agreement could be drawn up, he said.

“This illegal activity affects the residents neighbouring the lanes, and the broader community who can now not make use of the lanes to access routes etc, thus, pedestrian traffic is restricted.

“While the motivation for the lane closure is due to crime, it must be noted that due to the urban design and layout, the lane closures will result in increased pedestrian movement, including children, along the vehicular access routes, which may impact on the safety of these pedestrians,” he said.

Ward councillor, Ntomboxolo Kopman, said she was aware of residents’ frustration. She had visited the area with City officials who had said they could not close the lanes because it should have been done by the company which built the houses, she said.

She urged police and the neighbourhood watch to increase their presence in the area.