Durban - The DA’s plan to have additional metro police satellite stations in areas challenged by land invasions was turned down at a full council sitting this week.
The DA said it had made the bid as it feared confrontation could lead to a possible bloodbath.
The DA’s security, emergency and safety committee members Sharmaine Sewsanker and Thabani Mthethwa tabled the motion.
They wanted council to pass a resolution that the committee investigate and report on the possibility of having satellite metro police stations to assist with 24-hour visible policing.
The affected areas include Manor Gardens, Clare Estate, Glenmore and Carrington Heights (Umbilo).
These areas had experienced an unprecedented level of crime ranging from illegal land occupation, house robberies and carjacking, they said.
However, the motion was shot down by the ANC’s 104 councillors who voted against it.
Sewsanker said they were disappointed that the ANC used its majority to stop the plan without looking at the impact it would have on residents.
“We were shocked that the municipality has not done much to improve the safety of residents while crime continues to affect them. The city seems to have downplayed the issue of land invasions while communities are panicking. We will now address these issues within the committee and seek answers as to what contingency plans the city has to mitigate the crime surge,” said Sewsanker.
In separate community meetings held in Manor Gardens and Clare Estate this week, residents pleaded with Deputy Mayor Fawzia Peer to increase police visibility in the areas.
The residents were concerned that once shacks had been erected, it became a costly process to have them removed. They also expressed fears that there was no guarantee that a court order for eviction would be granted or if it would be upheld when it was granted.
“We are going to need visible 24-hour policing in the area until this whole land Invasion matter is resolved,” said Janus Horn, a Manor Gardens resident.
“Mrs Deputy Mayor, you have a good heart. You mean to do well, but I think you have too much on your plate and the city is losing control with land invasions.
“If nothing is done in Mary Thiphe Road, I fear that residents of all areas might take the law into their own hand and we would hate to see what happens then.”
Peer said it would be costly for the city to open satellite stations everywhere.
“It’s a cost factor. We don’t have the funds. However, the SAPS and metro police will combine their efforts to ensure the safety of the community,” she said.