The Social Justice Coalition (SJC) opposes the planned changes to the police station in Muizenberg that are slated to cost R100 million. For too long the South African Police Service (SAPS) has prioritised police resources to mainly white, middle class areas and discriminated against areas where black people live.
It is because of these Apartheid-era police resource allocations that we launched court action against SAPS in 2016.
It is unconscionable that while SAPS and the Department of Public Works have allocated R100 million for a police station in Muizenberg, black African and Coloured communities are ignored and discriminated against. Yet, it is these communities that suffer by far the highest burden of crime.
Nyanga and Khayelitsha for example are amongst the most dangerous areas in the country, with some of the highest number of murder rates recorded annually anywhere in South Africa. In 2015/2016 Nyanga had 10 times more murders than Muizenberg. Over the same period Site B, Khayelitsha had 4 times more robberies with aggravating circumstances, while Harare, Khayelitsha had three times more total contact crimes than Muizenberg.
In spite of these numbers police stations in Nyanga and Khayelitsha and other similarly placed communities continue to operate with limited infrastructure and insufficient resources.
In 2015/2016 SAPS failed to meet its own target of identifying and procuring land for a second police station in Nyanga. This was the third year in which they had set and failed to meet this target. All levels of government now have a responsibility to find and make land available for the construction of this very necessary additional police station.
In 2004 SAPS promised that the Makhaza Police Station in Khayelitsha was a priority that would be built. Thirteen years later SAPS again committed to the construction of the station indicating that construction is scheduled for 2018/2019. In spite of this it has been reported that the Department of Public Works, who will be responsible for construction, isn’t even aware of this commitment.
All three police precincts in Khayelitsha, which serve 414 184 people altogether, have only one Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit between them.
In Nyanga the lack of resources and a lack of physical infrastructure and space is similarly dire. Despite serving a community of 213 631 people, Nyanga’s FCS Unit is housed at the Mitchell’s Plain Police Station, which is 10km away. The detectives deployed to Nyanga are also not stationed at the Nyanga Police Station. They occupy office space 9km away.
The working class black African and Coloured community of Vrygrond, that is included in the Muizenberg police precinct is more than 6kms away from the Muizenberg Police Station. There are only two routes to get from Vrygrond to Muizenberg - either a pedestrian bridge or a bridge for motor vehicles.
The Lingelethu-West Police Station in Khayelitsha, according to the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into Policing (the Commission), has “poor parking facilities, no holding cells, no exhibit store, inadequate space for detectives, a temporary “park home” for the victim friendly room, and no space for holding “parades”.” None of these requirements have been addressed and the latest SAPS Annual Report reveals that no capital investments are in the pipeline. To make matters worse in 2016 the City of Cape Town proposed to sell the vacant land directly adjacent to the Lingelethu West Police Station. The SJC objected arguing the land should be reserved for the necessary expansion of the police station.
Masiphumelele, that falls within the Ocean View police precinct, is 4kms away from the police station. In November 2015 it received a mobile police station. Four months later the mobile police station was declared unroadworthy. It took more than 2 months for the repairs to be done.
The SJC has followed these failures to deliver equitable police resources to poor, working-class, black African communities. There is also a trend of appeasing some of these aggrieved, crime-ridden communities with the deployment of mobile or satellite police stations. Mobile and satellite police stations are almost exclusively reserved for poor, working-class black African communities like Mfuleni, Site B, Khayelitsha and Masiphumelele.
The allocation of R100 million to the police station in Muizenberg underscores why it was necessary for the SJC, Equal Education (EE) and the Nyanga Community Police Forum to take the Minister of Police, the Acting National Police Commissioner and the Western Cape Provincial Police Commissioner to the Equality Court. The allocation of resources by SAPS is clearly inequitable and discriminatory.
We now demand that SAPS immediately diverts the bigger share of the R100 million infrastructure budget allocated to the Muizenberg Police Station to communities that are in dire need, including those of Vrygrond, Nyanga, Khayelitsha, and others.
Head of Safety and Justice
071 609 3236
Senior Researcher – Safety and Justice
082 460 2093