Eight years and still no police station for Makhaza
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Cape Town - Residents in two communities are no closer to getting state-of-the-art police precincts as promised nearly a decade ago.
In 2013, Makhaza was promised its own station, while Muizenberg was set to be revamped as a cost of over R107 million.
There was a massive outcry slamming authorities for the money to be spent at Muizenberg that presented less crime than areas like Makhaza and Khayelitsha.
Yesterday Police Minister Bheki Cele announced the fourth quarter crime stats where Khayelitsha came up as the province’s murder capital. In the list of the top 30 police stations for murder Khayelitsha was fourth nationally, with 57 murders compared to 47 from the same period last year.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said it is disappointing that the lack of police services in Makhaza, which is in Khayelitsha, has taken this long.
He said the three police stations in Khayelitsha are not coping with the number of communities they have to service.
“Khayelitsha is growing drastically and rapidly there are 13 new communities which add more burden to the few stations,” he said.
Tyhido said since his tenure as the chairperson, they have dealt with about five different police ministers trying to resolve the issue but still nothing has been done.
According to residents and leaders of Khayelitsha, crime has increased in Makhaza because the area has no police station.
According to them they were promised a police station of their own and a site was identified but it is still empty.
The greater community of Khayelitsha, which is one of the biggest townships in Cape Town and still growing is currently being serviced by three police stations.
A Makhaza resident, Akhona Matolengwe, said they have been promised a police station since she was a little girl.
She said crime has increased in the area because criminals know the nearest police station is far.
She said in order for someone to report a crime they either have to go to Harare or Lingelethu police stations and it is quite a distance.
She said it is not surprising that the government is not doing anything about it because they never do anything.
“You would get robbed of all your belongings and have no money to go to the police station because you can’t walk, you must take a taxi,” said Matolengwe.
She added that they are tired of waiting for empty promises they will just wait and see when it happens, if it ever will.
Ward 96 councillor Danile Khatshwa said crime is way too high and police numbers are insufficient because Khayelitsha as a whole is overpopulated for their service.
He said for instance Harare was supposed to service that community and surrounding areas but because there are not enough stations it services other areas as well.
Khatshwa said the police station was promised in 2013 and additional police services should have been added a long time ago for the community of Khayelitsha.
In 2018, Social Justice Coalition (SJC) a human rights organisation, built a wall on the site where the station was meant to be built and wrote on it Makhaza Police Station.
SJC’s Sibusiso Mdlankomo said it has been years the community has been waiting for the station.
He said they have been engaging with the community and people are not happy and have taken the law into their own hands.
“People have been complaining about crime in the area and we have noticed that vigilantes has also increased because people live in fear and decided to take the law into their own hands,” said Mdlankomo.
He added that they will fight alongside the community so at least by the end of the year the construction begins.
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said Makhaza Police Station is on their priority list for the construction of new buildings.
National Department of Public Works and Infrastructure spokesperson Thami Mchunu said there is land identified after investigations by their department and SAPS, and construction will commence after regulatory compliance matters such as site clearance have been finalised and SAPS provides a budget for construction.
He said the process of site clearance which entails an investigation into the feasibility of the site to accommodate the facility, confirming ownership and vesting the property if still needed, establishing zoning and land-use requirements of the municipality and environmental impact analysis studies may take up to 18 months or longer.
“At the moment the cost of the new facility is still undetermined since the project is not yet at design stage, the cost of construction can be closely estimated only after designs and all other anticipated costs have been finalised,” he said.
The renovation of Muizenberg station caused a furore about four years ago when the budget was said to be R107 409 407.00.
Then police minister Fikile Mbalula and some civil organisations deemed the amount of the upgrade as being unjustified.
Potelwa said there is currently no planned upgrade for Muizenberg Police Station.
Mchunu said at the request of SAPS the project for repairs and upgrading of the station was deactivated.
“The amount was never allocated to the project, funds are only allocated to projects for construction once the cost of development is established and also funds are not allocated at once but over a period of financial years in a staggered manner in line with anticipated progress on construction over a financial year or period,” Mchunu said.
Muizenberg police station is about 6km from communities such as Vrygrond and Capricorn that are in dire need of its services compared to areas including Kalk Bay, Muizenberg, St James and Marina Da Gama.
Muizenberg CPF chairperson Frank Bokhorst said the community rejected the proposal because they felt the money can be used where it is needed the most.
"The upgrade would not have helped entirely with crime, because the communities mostly affected by it would have had to travel distances to report crimes," he said.