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Ongoing killings and robberies in Khayelitsha labelled a 'pandemic'

Police Minister Bheki Cele attended a safety and security stakeholders meeting arranged by the Khayelitsha Development Forum. The meeting was also attended by the Speaker of the legislature, the Department of Health, Department of Community Safety, the SAPS and community leaders. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Police Minister Bheki Cele attended a safety and security stakeholders meeting arranged by the Khayelitsha Development Forum. The meeting was also attended by the Speaker of the legislature, the Department of Health, Department of Community Safety, the SAPS and community leaders. Picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Mar 24, 2022

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Cape Town - The ongoing killings and robberies in Khayelitsha have been labelled a pandemic, during a special safety and security stakeholders meeting at the Khayelitsha Training Centre.

The meeting, which included Police Minister Bheki Cele, speaker of the legislature Masizole Mnqasela, Department of Community Safety, Department of Health, police and residents, was called by the Khayelitsha Development Forum (KDF).

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KDF chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said the aim of the meeting in part was to look at ways in which all stakeholders could work together to fight the scourge of criminality in Khayelitsha.

This came after six people were shot dead in the Enkanini informal settlement on Sunday, and four men and a woman were gunned down in the Endlovini informal settlement in Khayelitsha last week.

This week, four nurses from Site B Clinic were on their way home after their night shift when gun-wielding assailants stopped their vehicle, pointed guns at them and robbed them of their belongings. A similar incident happened in January.

Tyhido said the recent incidents had also had a negative effect on health facilities, therefore the Department of Health had been invited to report on it.

He said the KDF wanted all spheres of government to start working with communities, rather than pointing fingers at one another.

Mnqasela said the Cape Flats was a war zone, a crime hot spot, and had been a serious concern for the legislature, the Western Cape government, and society.

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“Our approach is very clear, we need to act decisively against crime and lawlessness, and stop this mass murders that keep taking place in our communities. We are very impatient, we are angry because this is exactly how criminals have been made to believe that they are in charge.

“We will never allow criminals to take charge, and in fact claim our streets. We need to reclaim them, and make sure that our neighbourhoods are safe. This is a pandemic,” Mnqasela said.

“What we need to do, and what we have to do with the very highest sense of urgency, is to employ the whole-of-society approach where local, provincial and national governments have to stop the bickering and political games,” he said.

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Mnqasela said criminals were controlling the streets.

“We need to mobilise resources the same way we did with Covid-19 interventions. Fortunately, I led an intervention for Khayelitsha and I know what we should be doing with the leadership of KDF, in particular, the role of the leadership collective.”

The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) said the incidents, among many other violent incidents in Cape Town, highlighted that the battle against extreme violent crime and gun violence in specific areas of the city, particularly in informal settlements and on the Cape Flats, needed structural interventions.

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“In previous years, the SJC has drawn attention to the findings of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry (KCOI) into allegations of police inefficiency,” the SJC said.

It said the inquiry found that the structural conditions in informal settlements made routine visible policing patrols difficult as most informal neighbourhoods were not accessible by vehicle.

The SJC said the result, as one station commander admitted at the KCOI, was that the policing of informal neighbourhoods was “neglected”.

“The KCOI considered it completely unacceptable that neighbourhoods where residents are particularly vulnerable are being largely overlooked by the police,” it said.

Police Minister Bheki Cele attended a safety and security stakeholders meeting arranged by the Khayelitsha Development Forum. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

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