A leader of a community-initiated patrol group in the Marikana informal settlement in Philippi East said they have become “tired of begging” for police protection. Residents told Dan Plato, Western Cape Minister of Community Safety, about their concerns on Sunday afternoon at the Phillipi East police station.
It was Plato’s second visit to the crime-ridden ward in ten days. Last week, he met community leaders after 11 people were shot dead in one night.
The patrol leaders said they had 300 members, and about 150 people patrolling daily. Plato said, “That’s a lot. It’s more than other recognised patrollers across the Western Cape.”
Daluxolo Naki said that the lack of police protection had resulted in everybody “waking up and patrolling” the community.
Xolani Tukwayo told Plato of two recent incidents where patrolling members were attacked. “Two days ago thugs attacked us because we disrupted their operations,” he said.
Patrol leader Themba Nqilo said only men patrolled at night. “Thugs are in charge of certain areas, shooting people and forcing them to rape kids,” he said.
Nqilo asked if Plato could help three of their leaders who had been “falsely” accused of murder. Plato told them that while he “can’t interfere in police work” he would inquire about their case.
Director for Law Enforcement, Traffic and Operational Coordination for the City, Robbie Roberts, said, “We need shot spots [a system that detects gunshots] so we can know where shots happen and send the police to the correct street. No one can lie about the shots. Philippi East has now overtaken Nyanga and has most murders,” he said.
Roberts suggested that the patrollers be trained at the local community hall. “We need to separate the patrollers into groups of 50 to 60 because it would be difficult to train 300 of them at once,” he said. Roberts said that if the group ran into any trouble, they should contact the police immediately.
Roberts said street lighting in the area needed to be prioritised as that would help patrollers and police identify trouble spots.
Plato said that because Marikana residents are living on privately-owned land, the lights would be installed on the border of the informal settlement. He said, “We have brought the problem [of street lights] to the attention of the City of Cape Town. It is in the hands of the City.” — GroundUp