Communities experiencing high levels of crime have criticised police action at beaches, saying they are being excessively policed. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)
Communities experiencing high levels of crime have criticised police action at beaches, saying they are being excessively policed. Photographer: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Crime-riddled communities criticise excessive policing of Cape Town beaches

By Shakirah Thebus Time of article published Jan 8, 2021

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Cape Town – Communities experiencing high levels of crime have criticised police action at beaches, saying they are being excessively policed and police should instead focus on areas where improved police visibility is needed.

Spokespersons for the communities said in addition to facing excessive crime, Covid-19 regulations were being flouted in them.

This comes as Police Minister Bheki Cele is on a two-day visit to the Garden Route, with much of it spent at beaches with a large contingent of officers, to ensure adjusted alert level 3 compliance.

Police spokesperson Noloyiso Rwexana said on Tuesday two surfers were fined R2 500 each for contravention of Disaster Management Act regulations in Langebaan.

The strict surveilling of beaches comes as communities are left devastated by crimes not connected to lockdown regulations, with little to no additional police on hand to curtail this criminal activity.

Nyanga Community Police Forum (CPF) secretary Dumisani Qwebe said he did not support the police focus on beaches, which he said was being undertaken at the expense of communities that actually needed intervention by police.

“People should understand when the call was made that all beaches are to be closed, people should adhere to it. In our communities, we are challenged by the severe issue of people not adhering to Covid-19 regulations – not wearing masks when in public, and crime plays its own role,” Qwebe said.

Lentegeur CPF chairperson, Byron de Villiers said their precinct had become a Covid-19 hot spot and although there was police visibility, “more can be done to implement the curfew”.

The community of Cafda, Retreat are still reeling after several gunshots were heard on Tuesday night. The shootings are believed to have been gang-related.

Steenberg CPF public relations officer Leanne Reid said: “The shooting has been sporadic with no known injuries other than the trauma in the broader community.”

She said on New Year’s Eve, four people, including a 2-year-old child, were injured in a shooting in Lavender Hill.

“The Steenberg CPF believes a systemic solution to policing should be the focal point of government at this time. Operating in a community plagued by high levels of violence and illegal activity, we support the public calls for visible policing in areas devastated economically, socially and psychologically by ongoing shooting, drug dealing and gender-based violence,” said Reid.

Meanwhile, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said the minister should focus on fighting violent crime, adding the minister was “on a power trip across the Western Cape this week, demonstrating a single-minded obsession with beaches”.

Cape Argus

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