Safety kiosks for ’Plain

KAYLYNN PALM AND UNATHI OBOSE

In an effort to intensify security measures in the Town Centre and Tafelsig, the City of Cape Town intends stationing a safety kiosk in each area to assist the communities. However, the initiativehas been met with mixed feelings.

Sub-council 12 received the kiosks from Community Safety MEC Dan Plato on Monday May 16. They will be manned by Law Enforcement, the Department of Community Safety (DOCS), Mitchell’s Plain police and the Chrysalis and Wolwerkloof academies. Chairperson of Sub-council 12 Eddie Andrews said the kiosks focus on crime prevention, by increasing visibility and supporting daily operations.

It would also serve as a place where complaints can be channelled to the correct authorities.

Ewald Botha, spokesperson for Mr Plato said the delivery of the kiosks falls under the new safety partnerships which will see the roll-out of 40 safety kiosks by the DOCS in the province.

He said in partnership with the City of Cape Town, four kiosks will be stationed in Mitchell’s Plain, Manenberg, Hanover Park and Nyanga.

Mr Andrews said he had contacted Mr Plato’s office for assistance from DOCS regarding safety issues in the Town Centre and the Business Hive Industrial area on November 13 in 2014.

“DOCS replied by supporting the request and highlighting that they would like to explore a sustainable partnership and through planning and preparation between the City of Cape Town or DOCS.

“Needless to say, the request was favourably considered and included in the next kiosk roll-out after the agreement had been signed between the City and DOCS,” he said.

Fishmonger Tony Meyer described Town Centre as a crime zone didn’t believe the kiosks would make a difference. “I’ve been working in Town Centre for 26 years and people are getting robbed every day and others selling drugs. That affects our businesses,” said Mr Meyer.

Mr Andrews said the lead department would be the City’s Law Enforcement division which would work with SAPS and Metro police. He added that while Town Centre and Tafelsig had been identified as crime hot spots, the deployment of the kiosks is “not limited to those sites as the kiosks may also be considered elsewhere as per the integrated operations plan”.

He added: “Law enforcement will accommodate graduates to augment safety programmes as well as setting up the safety kiosks. DOCS will also avail identified youth from the Chrysalis and Wolwekloof Academy on the EPWP youth work programme to assist,” he said.

Tafelsig resident Morishia Fortuin said a few years ago there had been a mobile police station in Tafelsig but had since been removed.

She said the mobile station had not benefited the community as the doors were closed during winter and there had been a lack of equipment and resources.

“The container was useless and in my opinion failed us miserably. They wouldn’t have vehicles available or they wouldn’t have enough statement forms for people. This meant that you have to go all the way to the Town Centre, which is a waste of time.

“I hope that the kiosk will service the community in the correct way and not let residents feel like they’re doing us a favour, because this often happens. The last thing we would like to see is SAPS working there alone,” she said.

Tafelsig community worker Beatrice Leng said police visibility was imperative in the area as drug dealing was rife.

“The guys are dealing and are shooting in daylight and it is sad that children and youth have to be exposed to this reality. I support the kiosk but I am also concerned as the previous container (mobile police station) was ineffective.

“I hope the agencies are community -rientated and work well together. Crime affects us and I can see our neighbourhood watches, street committees working hard to make our place safer,” she said.

Mitchell’s Plain police station commander >>RANK??<< Cass Goolam rubbished the accusations of inefficiency, saying they worked well with informal traders.

“We have ongoing partnership with them and we are operating together to curb crime. There is clear indication of progress in crime reduction,” said >>RANK<< Goolam.

He said their challenges are the people who work with criminals. “Our challenge are the peanut gallery contingents who benefit from crime by not co-operating with the police and other partners and have a stake in crime,” he said.

He added that residents needed to be educated about the rights of arrested persons because it doesn’t mean that police are not doing their work if they see the arrest person back on the streets.