Hangberg residents demand a police station

Community march against crime and drugs

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Photo of protesters
Hangberg residents marched on Saturday demanding a satellite police station to help fight crime. Photo: Bernard Chiguvare

About 100 Hangberg residents including school children marched in Hangberg, Hout Bay, on Saturday, demanding better policing and tougher measures against crime and drug-dealing.

The march was organised by the Hangberg Education and Development Movement.

Chanting, “Say no to drugs! Say no to drugs”, residents marched to the community hall where they handed a memorandum to JP Smith, the City of Cape Town’s Mayco member for Safety and Security and Social Services.

Some carried placards with “Say No to Drugs”, “No more Crime” and “Crime must fall.”

In the memorandum the residents demanded deployment of additional police officers and a satellite police station in Hangberg, and tougher sentencing of criminals, with the maximum sentence allowed by law for people convicted of possession of an illegal firearm, ammunition or drugs

They also called on the Western Cape MEC for Education to take more responsibility for learner’s safety in schools.

Residents who spoke to Groundup said Hangberg was a very safe area some 10 years back.

“I have lived in this area for many years. Before 2010, the area used to be very safe. There were no such criminal activities. It all started in 2010 when we the community had a fight with the City of Cape Town when they demolished some illegal structures. After the fight, law enforcement agencies were no longer very visible,” said Pastor Philip Francis, vice chairperson of Hangberg Community Police Forum and a neighbourhood watch leader.

Johannes Martins, who has lived in the area for almost 40 years, said, “Hangberg was a very small and safe area.”

He said a new generation of people had come to the area from places where gangsters were already operating. “They came here to hide but at the same time were selling drugs.”

Martins, 66, doubted whether the criminal activities would stop.

“Police are doing their best, but the activities are rife, making our area unsafe,” he said.

Carmen Broot, 35, who was born in Hangberg, called for police and other law enforcement agencies to put an end to drug trading and gangsterism in the area.

“These activities are killing our youth and the the future of this country. Look at our children, they are growing up in this. It must stop,” said Broot, pointing to her two children marching alongside her.

Smith asked the community to work closely with SAPS and other law enforcement agencies to root out criminal activities in the area.

“We are happy to meet with the community. My door is always open for Pastor Francis,” he said.

Smith said the City was preparing to refurbish the vandalised public toilet at the Public Transport Interchange for the neighbourhood watch to use as a base.

He said the City was doing more training of neighbourhood watch members “than any other city” and had recently provided equipment to the neighbourhood watch, as well as deploying law enforcement, metro police and traffic officers “as often as possible”.

SA Police Service had reported a drop of 20% in crime in Hout Bay last year, said Smith.

He asked for community tip-offs on illegal drugs and guns and gang activity.

The criminal justice system and school safety were not City competencies, Smith said.

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TOPICS:  Crime Policing

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