Youth programmes need to fight crime

MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato, assists residents with questionnaires from his department.

Brown’s farm, Samora Machel and KTC were named as hotspots for all criminal activities including rape and murder in the Nyanga Cluster in a meeting held at the KTC community hall on Friday 28.

This emerged at the first leg of the Gugulethu/Nyanga Policing Needs and Priorities (PNP) consultation session, hosted by the Department of Community Safety.

MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato, Gugulethu station commander Brigadier Luyanda Damoyi and Nyanga station commander Brigadier Vuyisile Ncata were present.

According to the department, the 2017/18 PNP engagements take the format of two separate consultative workshops.

The first engagement will see presentations from all role-players and dissemination of the 2016/17 PNP reports to ensure a common understanding of information available.

From here the safety perception survey will be completed and inputs gathered on the specific policing needs, priorities and safety concerns.

The department said the second engagement would see the development of a detailed, implementable and agreed upon safety plan at a local level to help improve safety.

The PNP determination process will see the Department of Community Safety concentrate on the Saldanha Bay, Nyanga/Gugulethu (Gunya), Paarl East and Khayelitsha precincts.

Ewald Botha, spokesperson for Mr Plato, said: “With a focused approach on these areas we aim to have a better coordinated and agreed upon safety plan, implementable by all the relevant stakeholders, especially the municipalities. To help create safer environments, effective partnerships are needed between the police, law enforcement entities, all spheres of government and communities as a united front,” he said.

Some issues discussed in Friday’s engagement included house robberies, gang violence and drug abuse. The engagement discussed how the government should help residents of Nyanga, KTC, Crossroads, Samora Machel, Brown’sfarm, Lusaka and Hlazo Village fight back against violent crime.

It also emerged that unregulated sedan taxis (amaphela) unlicenced shebeens, drug dens, broken CCTVs camera, car hijackings and assaults are among the challenges in those areas.

One recurring topic was how to combat the potential increase of shebeens and taverns. Speakers said there were too many shebeens in their areas.

This had the potential the increase the abuse of alcohol among teenagers.

Unpacking the challenges faced by police, Major General Moses Memela said Brown’s Farm, Samora Machel and KTC are a headache when it comes to all sorts of crimes.

“Most crimes are caused by ex-convicts. We have noticed that most of them have not change their behaviour,” he said.

He went on to say drinking is a big problem. He said most crimes are committed by those who are under the influence of alcohol.

Major General Memela appealed to the community and government to assist police in the fight against crime.

“We hope the government will intervene. We also appeal to people to work with us,” he said.

Nyanga Community Police Forum chairperson, Buyisile Makasi, said people of the Nyanga cluster felt neglected.

He said KTC, for example, has no proper cleaning service; streets are dirty and sewage flows down the roads.

He said it was depressing to be in KTC and many other areas of the cluster.

“The drainage system needs to be attended to. There is Halzo Village which needs street renaming. Five streets share one name and that causes problems. There is traffic jam in Lusaka that is caused by unregulated amaphela and we have dysfunctional CCTV cameras and illegal shebeens,” he said.

But he said it is the shebeens that drive residents to the edge of despair.

“We want to appeal to the Western Cape Liquor Board to reconsider issuing of liquor licences. We can cope with the ones that we have but we can not think of (more),” he said.

Mr Makasi recommended that there should be meaningful programmes targeting the youth. He said the renting out of RDP houses, converting them into spaza shops and then their owners protesting wanting houses should end.

He appealed for the taxi sedans to be regulated, for animprovement to the two CCTV cameras, a promotion of sports programmes, and the curbing of smash-and-grabs and car hijackings in Lusaka.

Western Cape Liquor Board chief executive officer, Dr Luzuko Mdunyelwa, said Nyanga has 170 licenced shebeens. He appealed to residents to report shebeens that are not behaving.

“We depend on people to report the shebeens. We also send inspectors to monitor the situation. But mind you we have 10 inspectors for the whole Western Cape so we depend on people,” he said.

The engagement will soon take place in other areas.