Marikana: the situation is under control, says Plato

Police announce two arrests

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Photo of a man
MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato at the Philippi East police station. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Police had assured him the situation in Marikana informal settlement was under control, said MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato on Monday “The police have given me the assurance that they are on top of the situation and that they are following leads,” he told community leaders at a meeting at the Philippi East police station. This comes after the shooting of 11 people at the weekend.

Plato met residents to discuss how to help victims of the weekend mass shooting and to find solutions to crime in Marikana.

“The youngsters are running amok, and they have one thing in mind: to kill and hurt. But we need to stop that,” said Plato.

He said he would introduce programmes and projects that would keep the youngsters off the streets in Marikana this week.

ANC member of the provincial legislature Pat Lekker said the City of Cape Town must remove uninhabited shacks in Marikana. “We want the City of Cape Town to demolish empty shacks where women get raped and robbed and which thugs use as their hideouts,” she said.

But another resident objected strongly to the idea. “Residents have left those shacks not of their own volition, but because they fear for their lives,” he said.

Ward councillor Mboniswa Chitha said streetlights were needed to illuminate the informal settlement and deter thugs. “Cops can’t work effectively in the dark. We need tall street lights to light up the whole informal settlement,” said Chitha.

Loyiso Nkohla, executive support officer for the City, said shack dwellers were living on private land. “The City of Cape Town can’t electrify a place that doesn’t belong to it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Western Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said police had arrested two suspects in Lower Crossroads for possession of a firearm and ammunition.

“Members of the Stabilisation Unit, following up on information, apprehended two suspects aged 39 and 41 and confiscated a firearm as well as rounds of ammunition,” she said.

Brigadier Potelwa said the suspects would appear in court to face charges of possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition. “The firearm has been sent for ballistic tests to determine if it has been used in the commission of a crime,” she said.

On Monday Potelwa said police minister Fikile Mbalula would meet residents on Tuesday.

Councillor Chitha has urged residents to suspend community patrols because patrolling volunteers are not safe. He said at the weekend that sjambok-wielding patrollers could not win the fight against criminals armed with guns.

Chitha asked residents to phone him or the police if they receive information that thugs are plotting to commit crimes.

Dumisani Qwebe, secretary of the Nyanga Community Policing Forum, said residents of Nyanga and Gugulethu must join forces with Marikana residents to fight crime. More officers must be deployed in the area, he said.

Sonwabile Magida, chairman of the Gugulethu Policing Forum, said police only went into Marikana when residents protested. “How come criminals whose names are known don’t get arrested, and where is the police intelligence?” he asked.

Magida said: “We want the City of Cape Town to allow Metro police and law enforcement to remove thugs here so residents don’t cower behind burglar gates.”

At the weekend residents gathered outside Philippi East Police Station to demand that the police protect them from criminals. They said the mood in the area was one of fear.

“People get killed for no reason,” said Lubabalo Sigululu. “We are not carrying any weapons or singing struggle songs because we just want the police to protect us.”

“We have handed three memorandums to the police demanding that police act against thugs, but crime has not decreased,” said Sigululu.

Community leader Daluxolo Naki said some residents had fled the area to other townships. “Some residents have left with their belongings, but we appeal to those left behind to stay indoors.”

TOPICS:  Crime Policing

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