A boy plays in Manenberg while an SANDF member patrols the area earlier this year. While Police Minister Bheki Cele claims the SAPS have a firm handle on crime in the Western Cape, statistics indicate otherwise. Picture: Henk Kruger African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Police Minister Bheki Cele claims the SAPS has a firm grip on crime in the Western Cape, but recent statistics paint a rather bleak picture.

According to the latest available crime statistics, murder in the province increased by 12.6% from 3311 in 2017 to 3729 in 2018 last year. Murder in Philippi East grew by 36.6% from 2017 to 2018.

In 2017, a total of 150 murders were recorded, while in 2018 and 205 murders were recorded last year, 205.

Police resource allocation has come under fire before, but Philippi residents say that is of no consequence any more. They and have been calling for the deployment of the SANDF to help combat crime in their area. However, they also call for consistency and a defined and inclusive plan of action to help fight crime in their areas.

“The army being deployed is nothing new. All they do is intimidate and break down doors. That does not put an end to the violence that we live with daily,” said Ras Elfire from Marcus Garvey.

“But we welcome the initiative and hope that it will yield positive results in this particular case.” he added.

Mayco member for Safety and Security JP Smith said he welcomed the deployment of the army, but was concerned that “the fights have had to go on for so long with results only been forthcoming after threats of protest action by the community and court interdicts, and intergovernmental disputes by the DA”.

“I want to point out that the deployment of the military is at best a short-term stop-gap to bring peace to these communities and that without the serious problems in the national police force being fixed by the national government, which is alone in control of the criminal justice system, the crime problems that exist and the lack of conviction rates for serious and violent crime and gang murders will not improve, and our communities will not be given the opportunity to achieve normalisation and progress,” added Smith.

Graph courtesy Social Justice Coalition.

There are 280 police deployed in Philippi per 100000 people, Gugulethu has 182; Ocean View which serves Ocean View, Masiphumelele and Kommetjie, has 218; Wynberg has 864; and Rondebosch, 556.

Six women aged between 18 and 26 were murdered in a house in the area.

They were said to have been at a local tavern before moving to the home of one of them, who was shot in the head in front of her 4-year-old son.

According to those who were first at the scene after the shooting, the women were “assassinated quick, but brutally”.

Police also confirmed that in two incidents on Saturday night, five men, aged between 18 and 39, were shot dead and another was injured.

The predominantly Rastafarian community is seeking answers from the government for the murders.

Councillor Simphiwe Nqamnduku said they were, however, confident that Cele would have positive results by the end of the week.

“He promised that there was a team working round-the-clock to ensure arrests,” he said.

Earlier this week, after visiting the house where the women were gunned down, Cele blamed the City of Cape Town for poor lighting, saying the SAPS was not under-resourced.

“Western Cape is not under-resourced, the only areas that are under-resourced are black and coloured areas. How will police chase criminals in places like this where there is no lighting? JP has the best cameras, but they are not here,” he said.

In December last year, Judge Nape Dolamo of the Equality Court, Western Cape division, found that police resources were indeed skewed towards more affluent areas.

According to the judgment in an application filed on March 31, 2016, by the Social Justice Coalition, the Nyanga Community Police Forum (both represented by the Legal Resources Centre) and Equal Education (represented by Webber Wentzel), to compel the SAPS to remedy the manner in which it allocated police officers to police stations, “the allocation of police human resources in the Western Cape unfairly discriminates against black and poor people on the basis of race and poverty; and the system employed by the SAPS to determine the allocation of the police human resources, in so far as it has been shown to be the case in the Western Cape Province, unfairly discriminates against black and poor people on the basis of race and poverty”.

In October 2017, 18 people were killed in a week in the Marikana informal settlement in Philippi East.

Eleven were allegedly killed by gang members in an act of revenge over the killing of seven of their friends.

What the stats show

A snapshot of the number of murders reported to police stations across Cape Town in 2017/2018.

  • Philippi/Hanover Park – 87
  • Gugulethu – 182
  • Wynberg – 5
  • Claremont – 3
  • Rondebosch – 0
  • Bishop Lavis/Bontehuewel – 98
  • Ocean View – 29
  • Philippi East – 205

* Stats courtesy Social Justice Coalition 

Weekend Argus