By Zoë Postman
Tshepisong, a neighbourhood in the west of Johannesburg, has been without a police station for about 20 years.
According to the 2011 Census, Tshepisong has a population of about 53,000 people. The closest police station is about five kilometres away in Kagiso, which only has a population of about 5,000 people. Other areas like Magaliesburg, Bekkersdal, Rabie Ridge, Ivory Park, Itsoseng and Lenasia South have a smaller population than Tshepisong Ward 128 but have a police station in the area.
In July last year, residents of Tshepisong Ward 128 marched to the nearest police station to hand over a memorandum demanding an increase in police visibility and a police station in Tshepisong Ward 128.
Sylvia Monakale, Ward Councillor of Tshepisong Ward 128, told GroundUp that residents have to take two taxis to get to the Kagiso police station, spending about R40 to get there and back.
“This is not something we’ve raised just now. We have been asking for a police station for a very long time, even before I was ward councillor. We were promised a satellite station, but nothing has come of it so far,” said Monakale.
Phumlani Khulu, community leader in EbuMnandini, an informal settlement in Tshepisong, said the police told the community that they do not have enough cars to patrol the area. He said that many cases were opened at Kagiso Police Station but nothing happened after that.
“The thugs are still walking around in our community. They [police] also take too long to give victims case numbers which is another problem,” said Khulu. He said the community ends up “taking the law into their own hands now”.
“We decided to blow our whistle to get the community together and patrol our area on weekends,” said Khulu.
“We are suffering here. Crime is too high and people are dying. We need our own police station next to the community of Tshepisong.”
Maria Ditse has lived in the area for ten years. She complained that the police from Kagiso Police Station are slow to respond when they report crimes. “In December last year, a lady was stabbed to death trying to protect her daughter from being robbed. We called the police and they only arrived the next day.” She said there are “troublemakers” in the community that need to be dealt with.
Lungelo Dlamini, South African Police Service Provincial Spokesperson, said complaints about lack of police stations should be directed to the Police Ministry.
He said that it is police responsibility to “deliver effective services to the community and poor service delivery cannot be tolerated.” However, to deal with this issue, Dlamini said his office would have to receive a formal complaint so that action can be taken against officers who are not delivering effective services to the community.
The Police Ministry had not responded to GroundUp by time of publication.
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