Satellite police station not enough, say Nyanga residents
Nyanga has the highest number of murders in the country: 279 victims in a year
Nelisa Ngqulana, who grew up in Nyanga but now lives in Fish Hoek, has been campaigning for a second police station in Nyanga since last year. She said 650 Nyanga residents had now signed her petition and she plans to get at least 5,000 more signatories.
At a community dialogue held in February with Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu, residents from Nyanga and surrounding areas voiced their concerns over the high levels of crime in the community.
In September 2016, the police’s crime statistics revealed that Nyanga had retained its infamous title as the “murder capital” of South Africa for the fifth consecutive year. Over 10,500 crimes were reported between April 2015 and March 2016. Of these, 279 were murder cases, compared to 300 in the previous year.
Nyanga police station services six areas: Philippi Brown’s Farm, Old Crossroads, Nyanga East, Sweet Home Farm, Samora Machel and Heinz Park. The 2011 census recorded that there were nearly 60,000 people living in Nyanga. This number has since “increased rapidly”, said police.
According to police statistics, there were 1,739 drug-related cases; 1,503 for robbery with aggravated circumstances; 1,053 for assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, and 1,011 for common assault over the year.
Yet Nyanga is among the worst resourced precincts in the Western Cape.
In September, the Nyanga Community Police Forum, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, submitted an application to intervene in an Equality Court case seeking fair police resource allocation across the country, brought by the Social Justice Coalition and Equal Education in March 2016.
The South African Police Service opposes the application for intervention.
Police have since placed a 24 hour satellite station in Brown’s Farm informal settlement, but Ngqulana said “this is not enough” as all serious crimes were only investigated by detectives at the Nyanga station.
Ngqulana said most people in the community were aware that police were overworked and that the area was too big for one station. “There is a lot more that needs to happen in the community than just the building of another police station. There are lots of socio-economic issues that need to be dealt with,” she said.
SAPS spokesperson Novela Potelwa said police had identified several vacant properties in the Samora Machel area for a police station, but were later informed that those were earmarked for schools and health facilities.
“In order to deal with operational challenges in the area and increase visibility, we have opened a 24-hour satellite station in Brown’s Farm,” she said.
Potelwa said the precinct had hired 60 new officers since January 2016. She said 80 neighbourhood watch members assisted police in areas like Samora Machel which was mainly informal settlements.
According to Nyanga’s station commander, Vuyisile Ncatha, police are already “making inroads” in combating crime. “There has been a remarkable reduction in crime levels. Our call is for more community members to join crime prevention initiatives,” he said.
“Other challenges include poor infrastructure, and little or no access roads between informal structures. They are poorly lit and dwellings are not numbered. All these factors impede policing efforts and impact on police response time,” he said.
This article was changed to say that Nelisa Ngqulana lives in Fish Hoek, not Hout Bay as originally stated.
© 2017 GroundUp.
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
You may republish this article, so long as you credit the authors and GroundUp, and do not change the text. Please include a link back to the original article.