Stakeholders meet for change

Stakeholders have joined hands in finding lasting solutions to ongoing gang violence in the Mitchell’s Plain area.

This after an urgent meeting called by member of the provincial parliament, Ricardo Mackenzie, to discuss matters relating to the recent scourge in gangsterism and crime.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a coordinated approach to fighting crime and social ills that contribute to crime.

The meeting was attended by Lentegeur police station commander, Colonel Herman Seals and Colonel Jacobus Fredericks, Major-General Johan Brandt, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith, MEC for community safety Dan Plato, MEC for social development Albert Fritz and local councillors.

Mackenzie says: “It was great to have all partners – the police, City of Cape Town, Social Development, Community Safety and all councillors in Mitchell’s Plain in one room working together for a common purpose.”

At the meeting, Smith revealed that the City would allocate R6m to capacitate neighbourhood watches in Cape Town with equipment and the council approved R65m for more Metro police staff and R60m for vehicles. This would contribute to fighting crime, he said.

“The need for this intervention has always been there and we have been calling for the working relationships to improve. It has been clear that Mitchell’s Plain and Lentegeur, like many police stations in the Western Cape, are not getting any more police officers despite the severe under-resourcing of police,” says Mackenzie.

“The current police ratio nationally is one officer to every 360 people, but in the Western Cape it is one to 560 and Fikile Mbalula (former police minister) last year promised army assistance to police but nothing materialized and now Bheki Cele (Minister of Police) is saying no, forcing us to look at other ways to work with police.

“We are hoping for more joint operations between the City and the police and we were happy that neighbourhood watches and more Metro police officers will now be recruited as told to us by Smith. He also gave his commitment that his team will have more joint operations with the police in the area,” says Mackenzie.

Fritz also called for more social interventions at primary and high schools which includes more drilling competitions and diversionary programmes.

It was also agreed that more training needed to be given to neighbourhood watches and that community policing forums and neighbourhood watches must work together.

“We all agree that intelligence is a key factor in dealing with crime and the community must inform police if and when they have information on crimes. Community interaction is key to dealing with these crimes in our areas,” says Mackenzie.

Councillors also raised concerns of corruption at police station level and asked police management to rotate more police officers to avoid them becoming more comfortable and urged the police to address corruption in their ranks.