Cape Times - Khayelitsha will not get a single CCTV camera from the 44 the DA-led City of Cape Town will install by the end of June, at a cost of R17 million.
Instead, safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith said the cameras formed part of the ward allocation projects, within the City’s safety and security directorate, and would be installed in areas such as Blaauwberg, Table View, Milnerton, Plattekloof, Parow and Kraaifontein.
This has outraged Khayelitsha community leaders and civic organisations, who said the City’s largest township continued to be neglected.
The Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into policing heard submissions from police management that the lack of CCTV cameras hampered crime-fighting efforts there.
In response to the commission’s report released in 2014, then national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega identified a “serious challenge” with the City’s failure to install CCTV cameras in high-crime spots such as Khayelitsha.
In her 22-page response Phiyega said they were concerned that while there were more than 500 CCTV cameras in the city centre, there were not enough in Khayelitsha.
“Since September 2014 there is only one out of eight cameras that is operational, and is optimally utilised by the SAPS to identify criminal groupings and individual suspects.
“This begs the question why are all the routes of the newly introduced MyCiTi bus service properly monitored by CCTV cameras in Khayelitsha.
“Are the buses a priority of the City of Cape Town? This clearly indicates the attitude and the focus in this regard.”
While there are no plans for camera installations in Khayelitsha in this financial year, Smith said two projects totalling R550000 were proposed for the township in the following financial year.
“The City currently has 24 cameras in Khayelitsha. While some cameras are regularly targeted by thieves and vandals, it is incorrect to say that any of the infrastructure in Khayelitsha has been non-functional for years.
“The City works very hard to repair damaged cameras or related infrastructure as quickly as possible.
“However, we need to take tougher action against cable thieves and vandals.
This includes the justice system taking cases of cable theft seriously.” Asked how many cameras in the area were not working, Smith blamed cable thieves for the three that were non-functional.
“Safety and security is a big ask in Cape Town, and while the directorate tries to meet as many needs as possible, the reality is that the ward allocation funding helps to accelerate delivery in very meaningful ways.
“From force multipliers like CCTV cameras in high-crime areas to additional manpower on the streets through the rent-a-cop and beach buddy programmes, every cent helps.”
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said: “It is very unfortunate that the City will always position itself against the people of Khayelitsha. It is very strange that the City will continue to perpetuate the tale of two cities.
“They have prioritised areas that have lighting, access roads and house numbers. Khayelitsha has none of this. “This is a systematic exclusion of townships, and cable theft is a lame excuse. So for as long as we have cable thieves, we will never have cameras to ensure safety.”
Social Justice Coalition head of policy and research Dalli Weyers said the City did not have a “pro-poor budget” and that the township was “grossly neglected”. “Last year, the provincial government had installed cameras in Town 2 for the purposes of the Alcohol Harms Reduction Game Changer.
“Even with those installations there was no consultation. “These cameras are being monitored by Chrysalis graduates, which shows Khayelitsha is not being treated in a thorough manner. The area has been grossly neglected.”
He said ward allocations were “problematic” because they created the sense that all wards were on “an equal playing ground”. “It allows the City to shift blame onto how ward councillors were spending their budgets when in fact the ward allocations were just drops in the ocean of funds available to the City.”
Meanwhile, the City’s Transport Directorate will install high-tech CCTV cameras at various public transport interchanges (PTIs) and MyCiTi stations across Cape Town.
The first PTIs to benefit from the rollout are Claremont, Wynberg, Cape Town Station Deck, Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and Bellville, according to mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase. The investment in the rollout of the CCTV cameras at nine of the City’s minibus-taxi ranks amounts to R11.4m.
“We’ll be installing 159 CCTV cameras at nine minibus-taxi ranks. “In fact, 54 CCTV cameras have already been installed at the public transport facilities in Wynberg, Claremont, and the Cape Town Station Deck,” added Purchase.