The Social Justice Coalition in Cape Town has appealed to national government and its Western Cape counterpart to prioritise safety in informal settlements, deploy more visible policing and implement the recommendations of the Khayelitsha Commission of Enquiry report.
The commission was appointed in August 2012 to probe the inefficiency of police services in the crime-riddled Khayelitsha and neighbouring communities.
The advocacy group has called on Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana to consider these factors in his budget speech, set to be delivered on Wednesday in order to curb crime in informal settlements.
The crime rate in the Western Cape informal settlements is a cause of concern. One of the newly formed informal settlements, Sanitizer in Langa, is already plagued by violence. Last week, a perpetrator allegedly raped and killed a 26-year-old woman in a shack, before he disposed of her body in a nearby canal.
An angry mob later forced the suspect to point out the body before they allegedly killed him by setting him alight in vigilante justice.
Councillor of Ward 52, Thembelami Nyamakazi says, “Crime has skyrocketed to unprecedented numbers. You cannot even be able to mention, it’s out of control, it is out of our hands. That is how serious it is.”
Minister Bheki Cele last week released the Crime Statistics:
The Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry report, which was delivered in August 2014, found that relations have broken down between police and the community and that two of the three Khayelitsha police stations were severely understaffed. The government promised to build a police station in Makhaza but only delivered a temporary police station last year.
The Western Cape reported the second-highest number of crimes after Gauteng in the last quarter. Head of Research and Policy at the Social Justice Coalition, Khensani Motileni, says they believe the implementation of the commission’s recommendations will bring transformation into policing in informal settlements across the province.
“The commission called for visible policing in informal settlements and actual guidelines on how to police informal settlements because you can’t police informal settlements the same way you police in Sea Point. They have different issues. Sea Point might go without a murder but informal settlements are a different issue,” says Motileni.
Community members in Sanitizer in Langa say they will embark on a march later this week to demand a safer and free community, following a spate of murders in the area in recent weeks.