City, SJC in spat over CCTV cameras for poor Cape areas

A row has broken out between the Social Justice Coalition and the City of Cape Town over the shortage of CCTV cameras in poorer communities. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

A row has broken out between the Social Justice Coalition and the City of Cape Town over the shortage of CCTV cameras in poorer communities. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 24, 2019

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Cape Town - A row has broken out between the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and the mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, over the shortage of CCTV cameras in poorer communities.

The SJC accused Smith of “lacking political will and shirking his responsibilities”.

SJC’s head of policy and research Dalli Weyers said: “The allocation of CCTV cameras across Cape Town is irrational. Too many wards with high rates of aggravated robbery and other extreme violent crimes have less eyes on them than other, safer wards.

“Too many wards where residents spend more time in the public domain, because they have to walk or use public transport have fewer cameras than wards where residents have private transport, walls, and electric fences.”

Weyers said Smith would deflect by saying some cameras were sponsored by businesses or bought by ward councillors with their ward allocations.

“The discrepancy cannot be attributed to the City alone. This is a cop-out. Leaving the distribution of CCTV cameras up to local interests or those with money is a dereliction of duty, worsened by the fact that ward 35 covers a large part of the murderous Philippi East police precinct and has no CCTV cameras.

“In October 2017, 18 people were killed in 10 days in this ward.

“Two years later, there are still no CCTV cameras,” he said.

But Smith refuted the SJC’s claims. “It is a great pity that the SJC continues to mislead the public and muddy the facts. Something that could easily have been achieved by a straightforward query or engagement with the City.

“There are 15 CCTV cameras in Philippi East, but there are no cameras in Marikana, because there is no infrastructure to support cameras,” he said.

@MarvinCharles17

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