Seeking solutions to violent crime

Joseph Williams, Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum project co-ordinator and Colonel Jacobus Fredericks, head of visible policing for Mitchell’s Plain police station.

The Eastridge community will be used to gather information and in pilot plans to rid the area of crime and gangsterism.

Members of Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum (CPF), their Eastridge sub-forum and The Safety Lab, a non-profit organisation focused on developing new, effective solutions to violence in high-risk environments, met at Mitchell’s Plain police station boardroom on Saturday May 29.

They will be homing in on gangsterism, gender-based violence, sexual abuse, assault and robbery within Eastridge.

The Safety Lab general manager Nathaniel Roloff said they would be looking at the crime statistics from the police, the community’s perception and their experiences of crime in their area and work towards solutions.

Solomon Philander, Wolfgat Sub-council chairman and councillor for Ward 79, who was also at the meeting, said the Eastridge data could be incorporated into the Mitchell’s Plain Safety Plan, which is part of the City of Cape Town’s five-year Integrated Development Plan (IDP) within the Mayoral Urban Renewal Programme (MURP).

He said the community should use services available in Mitchell’s Plain to their advantage and hold authorities accountable.

Premier Alan Winde, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum treasurer Jasmine Harris, and public relations officer, Shireen Rowland.

“We will be having a stakeholder meeting to include more voices into this plan,” he said.

Mr Philander said it would include non-governmental organisations, government departments, the police, civil society, sport, business and the religious fraternities.

CPF chairman Norman Jantjes, who is also the chairman of Mitchell’s Plain United Residents’ Association (MURA), said they had been working with a City official for about two years, before she retired and they had to rekindle a plan, which they were now doing with The Safety Lab, who is a contractor of the City.

Mr Jantjes said they have also garnered support from the Department of Community Safety as part of the Western Cape Safety Plan and the Recovery Plan, incorporating elements of the provincial response, being implemented through the Area-Based Team (ABT) approach in priority police precincts.

He also urged community members to join their local neighbourhood watch, to increase the level of safety in the area.

The ABT seeks to bring various role-players and senior representatives together from SAPS, the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Department of Justice, the City of Cape Town (Metro and Law Enforcement), the South African National Defence Force, the Department of Correctional Services and the provincial departments of Health, Education, Human Settlements, Transport and Public Works, Cultural Affairs and Sport, and Economic Development and Tourism.

Albert Fritz, MEC for Community Safety, said they wanted to catch the delinquent youth who could be adopted into various programmes, including Chrysalis Academy, where they could be groomed into positive members of society.

The approach aims to deal with gangsterism through effective criminal justice and law enforcement, as well as focusing on community upliftment, social cohesion, urban and environmental planning and design.

“The time for us to come together as a whole of society is now. We need to fight this scourge of gangsterism and violence together,” he said.

Last Wednesday Premier Alan Winde, Mr Fritz and mayoral committee member JP Smith walked about in Tafelsig, after a visit to the Beacon Valley rent office, where they were briefed on about 20 Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) law enforcement officers who were deployed through the Western Cape Safety Plan to Mitchell’s Plain in March.

On September 19 2019, the Western Cape Government launched the Western Cape Safety Plan to half the murder rate over the next 10 years.

“I committed the provincial government to achieve this through a combination of violence prevention and law enforcement interventions. The Western Cape Safety Plan has since been incorporated into the ’Safety’ priority of the Western Cape Recovery Plan,“ said Mr Winde

During the walkabout Jasmine Harris, CPF executive member, took Mr Winde, Mr Fritz and Mr Smith to task for only answering their memorandum, which was given to them two months only hours before the walkabout.

The CPF and MURA submitted a memorandum highlighted the need for an integrated gang intervention programme, which should specifically address gangsterism (“Call for an end to the violence”, Plainsman, March 17).