Pretoria - No English please - we want Afrikaans. This seems to be the cry of the Eersterus community who say they would be better served by the area's police station and clinic if the staff spoke the language.
"It is our home language, and we demand to be served in our own language," said Colin Papier, president of a local Khoisan council.
The council, the Freedom Front Plus and a few residents submitted a petition to both public facilities against what they termed poor and unsatisfactory service delivery.
The state of service was attributable to staff's lack of understanding of the Afrikaans language, they said.
A little more than 10 people first delivered a petition at the clinic before proceeding to the police station. They called for the employment of people who spoke Afrikaans, especially doctors and nurses.
They argued that patients were not able to express themselves clearly because doctors and nurses did not understand the language spoken by most people in the area.
From there, the group proceeded to the nearby police station. The group claimed that local people, including a lot of senior citizens, no longer bothered to report crime as they were forced to write down statements in English when they reported matters.
Because of this criminals got away with murder, they charged.
Papier said the community felt as though police officers and clinic staff did not care about them and regarded them as second-class citizens. "It is like we do not have a voice; we feel nobody cares."
"We are also South Africans and entitled to a proper and professional police service, which we do not get at the moment," Papier said.
The skin colour of those who served them did not matter, as long as they spoke Afrikaans, they said.
The petition at the police station was received by station commander Lieutenant-Colonel Malesela Kgoetego. He urged the community representatives to join structures such as the community policing forums. Kgoetego said the structures worked hand-in-hand with the police in crime prevention and attended to people's complaints.
Provincial police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini dismissed allegations on the language issue.
"We know the importance of freedom of expression, hence the memorandum received was in Afrikaans and the response is in the same language."
Police would only respond to factual information about the services rendered to the community, not unfounded allegations, he said.