Deputy police minister Maggie Sotyu opened a mobile police station in Masiphumelele yesterday. The station is a minibus adapted to accommodate a counter and chairs. There are two holding cells in the van. Picture: Leon LeStrade

Residents of troubled Masiphumelele will be without a fully fledged police station for several years, but they now have a “mobile community service centre” - a minibus complete with a counter and two holding cells each able to hold a standing arrestee.

And Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu, who opened the service centre on Friday, said a satellite station to be situated near the informal settlement’s taxi rank, was on the cards.

Sotyu said land for the satellite station had been donated by the City of Cape Town and talks were under way.

The construction of a permanent police station would take time and involve at least five government departments. Residents of Masiphumelele, plagued by violent protests and vigilante attacks, could not wait, she said.

“Masiphumelele needs intervention now. I am not a liar, you are not going to get a permanent police station now. I cannot promise you something I cannot deliver.”

Sotyu’s speech was preceded by that of Tshepo Moletsane who said a mobile station was insufficient to tackle the criminal activity plaguing the area.

To cheers from community members, he said residents in affluent neighbouring areas such as Noordhoek, Kommetjie and Capri “should support us when we fight drug dealers here because your children are affected by drugs too”.

When Sotyu served in the portfolio committee for police she thought it was possible to get a fully fledged police station in 24 months. “Now that I am with the police, I know that is impossible. What I am here to deliver is an interim measure.”

Sotyu urged the community to look after the mobile station and to use of it instead of travelling to Ocean View to report crime.

“We are also giving you 20 police officers, four of whom are reservists and eight public order police.

Protect this mobile station, protect these officers and do not corrupt them. They are human like all of us.”

Saturday Argus