A Tafelsig site has been handed to a contractor to start building a new police station on a field where bodies were dumped, stolen goods found and which has become a hide-out for criminals.
Neighbours to the site, bordered by Andes Street, Oranjekloof Road, Van Rhyn Cresent and Mont Blanc Street, in Tafelsig, are glad to finally see the vacant plot being developed and to have a police station close in an area, which has been caught up in gangsterism, drugs and shootings.
Neighbour Carswell Soggop, who lives across from the site in Oranjekloof Road, said the area used to be quiet when he was growing up but now the evenings were disrupted with gunfire. “We don’t walk late here. It is active with gangsters,” he said.
The site hand-over from architects CMS Architects to construction contractor Tipp-Con happened on the eve of Mr Soggop’s birthday on Thursday November 9.
He said birthday celebrations would be short because family members did not think it safe to park for long hours in front of his door.
“The front door would have to be left open and we will have to check on the cars often,” he said.
Mr Soggop said his children cannot play outside, let alone in the park behind his home. “Off and on our children would be warned to go inside because there is going to be shooting,” he said.
He said that the police patrolled often but it was not enough. The area needed more of a deterrent.
His neighbour Abieda Ariefdien, 79, who has been living in the same house for 35 years, said she would like the police station to bring positive change in her community.
Her grandson Fahiem, 38, who has been living with her for almost 30 years, said sitting outside, looking at the field was like watching a long-running crime television series.
“We call the police but they can’t come fast enough,” he said.
Frick Meyer, who lives across from the site, in Mont Blanc Street, said drug addicts came to do their drugs on the field.
“They sell their drugs, they hide contraband and they leave bodies here on the field,” he said.
His daughter Lauren said the community must unite and take a stand against gangsterism and drugs.
She said they should work together to ensure the police station is built. “We must make it work and not break it down,” she said.
CMS architect, Marissa Massyn, handed the signed contract to construction contractor Tipp-Con managing director, Thabelo Sialaq.
“We hope on a successful and wonderful project going forward and a police station coming up by 2026,” she said.
Project steering committee member and a Mont Blanc Road neighbour, Beverley Moffert, said the station was a long time in coming.
In 2016 the police station site was included in a Mitchell’s Plain Sub-council vacant land study.
The new multi-million rand Tafelsig police station was set to be completed in July 2020 and would service the Hyde Park, Tafelsig East and West community (“New cop shop for Tafelsig”, Plainsman, August 2, 2017).
At the time of going to print, SAPS had not answered the Plainsman as to what had caused the delay.
Mr Sialaq told the Plainsman that they would be employing local labour, from the Tafelsig community and related wards.
“The details of how many will be discussed as the project goes along with the recently formed steering committee,” he said.
He said that they were contracted to provide employment and to empower the local small to medium size companies with sub-contracting and hiring of the plant and other necessary equipment.
Mr Sialaq said they would “desperately need co-operation” from the community, to adhere to their process of recruiting for employment and appointing local sub-contractors as per the work packages being discussed with the steering committee.
“The community can expect jobs and local companies empowerment,” he said.
They are due to have the sod-turning later this month.