Masiphumelele police station out of service
Stationary vehicle sent for airbag repair
Masiphumelele residents have been without their mobile police station since 14 April, because the vehicle - which was stationary - has been sent away to have the airbag system repaired.
A day after the Western Cape police Ombudsman, Vusi Pikoli, visited Masiphumelele on 13 April to hear residents’ complaints about policing, the mobile police station was removed from its position outside the community hall.
For years residents have been complaining about inadequate policing in the township, which does not have its own permanent police station.
On 19 April GroundUp was told that the mobile police station had gone for a service and that other police vehicles were in Masiphumelele to serve the community.
Saps spokesperson Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said another van would be parked outside the community hall and residents could access police services there.
She said residents who were not happy could contact the Ocean View Station Commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Merkeur.
Nearly a month later, the same reply was given by another Saps spokesperson, Captain FC Van Wyk, on May 16. Van Wyk said police services were still available to the community. He did not say when the mobile police station would be brought back.
On each of the five occasions when GroundUp checked, there has been no police vehicle parked outside the community hall where the mobile police station used to be.
One resident who did not want to be named confirmed that there was seldom any police van at the community hall since the mobile station had been removed. Residents did not know where to go to report crimes or to get affidavits.
On its Facebook page, the Ocean View community policing forum stated that: “The [Saps] mobile Customer Service Center that is usually based in Masiphumelele went for a roadworthy test. Unfortunately, the test uncovered a fault with the air bag system and the vehicle failed the test. The required part has to be imported from France. The Station Commissioner is aware of the inconvenience this is causing to Masiphumelele residents and is doing all he can to make sure the Service Centre is back in service as soon as possible”.
Community leader Tshepo Moletsana said the community had not been told when the mobile police station was removed.
Resident Dumisani Nhlapho agreed that the community should have been consulted.
“The station commander said that there would be vans in the place of the mobile station but I have not seen them,” said Nhlapho. “The presence of that mobile police station did make some difference, especially for the old people who cannot walk to Ocean View to get an affidavit,” said Nhlapho.
Another resident, Lucia Mayo, who voiced her concerns about policing during Pikoli’s visit in Masiphumelele, said she had tried to find out from Ocean View police when Masiphumelele’s mobile police station would be back but without success.
Residents have demanded a permanent police station. But when Deputy Minister Maggie Sotyu opened the mobile police station on November 20 last year, she told residents it would take more than ten years before a permanent police station could be built in Masiphumelele.
© 2016 GroundUp.
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