Residents take action against growing crime

“Be the change you want to see,” says Saligh Kippie, a community activist from Wynberg East.

As the project coordinator of the Wynberg Community Policing Forum (CPF), Kippie could no longer watch his community deteriorating­.

He thus organised the Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch with other local watches, and got them to clean up the reportedly problematic Lower Piers subway.

Together with residents and schoolchildren the watches scraped, swept and painted the walls of this subway.

Paint was donated by House of Paint, but it was not enough to complete all the work. Brushes and trays came from participating residents and Law Enforcement personnel.

Kippie says a lot had been said about this subway but not much had been done about it. “We decided to claim our subways. This clean-up is just the beginning of other projects we have in mind. For now we will be cleaning it on every first Sunday of the month. We hope by so doing we will be able to fight crime. We are starting bit by bit with a bigger vision ahead.”

Kippie says the community has the power to change challenging situations into positives if they work together, sharing the same idea of liberating themselves from negativity.

He says Wynberg is an old suburb full of history that does not deserve to be tarnished under the watch of its own people.

Kippie says moving forward, they hope to clean all five subways in the area. However, he says they need more stakeholders to get involved. Currently they have approached their councillor, Montgomery Oliver, for paint and tools.

They will be working with Wynberg police to increase patrols in the hotspot.

He also encourages the youth to join hands and be the difference they would like to see in their community.

Faheem Harris, a resident, was passing by when he saw people working and went to find out what they were doing.

When he saw the work they were doing, Harris joined in.

He says what Kippie did was good for the community. Harris says he wanted to do his bit and offered his bakkie to take litter from the subway to the dump site.

Harris says litter and crime affect not only the subways, and proactive steps have to be taken.

Oliver commended the work done by the CPF.

“I am well aware of the painting and cleaning work being done by learners and members of the Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch. We have regular discussions and I recently handed them equipment to assist in their efforts to fight crime. Unfortunately the Roads Department has just advised that they cannot assist [with paint] but they can appeal to shop owners in the area for help,” Oliver says.

Wynberg police spokesperson, Captain Ntomboxolo Nqunqeka, says the subways have been a major concern to the police for the past few years. Nqunqeka says criminals are committing crimes like loitering and drug dealing in the subways. She says suspects use subways as an easy escape route when being chased by police.

According to Nqunqeka, young girls and women and young men are the most targeted, especially during peak hours.

“Robberies are reported almost on a weekly basis in Piers, Station and Brodie roads. We would like to urge the community to refrain from using headphones or earphones. Avoid carrying large items of luggage when walking alone and avoid walking alone in the dark. Police are doing all in their power to patrol these areas and even put a crime prevention unit in place that is dealing with these types of criminals.”