The South African Police Service and the City of Cape Town are discussing a site for a satellite police station. In the meantime the community of Masiphumelele would be serviced by a mobile station. By Thembela Ntongana for GROUNDUP.
Masiphumelele residents, who have been promised a new mobile police station, will have to wait until the police decide it is safe to install it. South African Police Service (SAPS) Provincial Head of Communication, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, told GroundUp that a mobile Community Service Centre (CSC) had been arranged for Masiphumelele, but its installation was delayed by “two incidents that occurred on Sunday (8 November) that resulted in a police vehicle being burnt down, and another incident where a body of an unidentified man was found burnt in the area”.
“The SAPS is doing a security assessment of the situation in the area as a means of determining when it would be safe to place the mobile CSC in Masiphumelele,” said Potelwa.
In response to demands from Masiphumelele residents, Deputy Minister of Police, Maggie Sotyu, promised in September that a mobile police station would be provided until land was found for a permanent police station. In a statement on 3 November, Western Cape MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato, said that in spite of this promise Masiphumelele was still not on the SAPS list of 14 mobile stations to be delivered this financial year. He said he had requested an update on when the mobile policing unit would be provided, but had not yet had a response.
Ward councillor, Felicity Purchase, said the mobile police station has been prepared, and the City of Cape Town had provided space for it. Asked by GroundUp what had caused the delay in setting up the mobile station, she said: “I am aware that it has been refitted to meet Masiphumelele requirements, and would have been delivered last week but was delayed due to protests.”
She said SAPS was looking for land for a permanent police station.
Potelwa confirmed that SAPS and the City were discussing a site for a satellite police station. In the meantime, she said, the mobile station would service the Masiphumelele community.
“It is clear that Ocean View police station can no longer accommodate Masiphumelele, and the population of Masiphumelele deserves a permanent police station,” said community leader, Tshepo Moletsane.
“We want to see a time frame of when the community will get the mobile station, but no one wants to commit themselves to this, hence we are not getting a reply.”
“We are still waiting for them to come to the community and tell us when we will get the mobile station,” said Masiphumelele resident, Lonwabo Ntwasa. DM
Photo: Metro police move in past burning vehicles and containers after a storage depot maintained by Zimbabwean migrants was set alight linked to a protest of thousands of residents against the police in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, South Africa 23 October 2015. EPA/NIC BOTHMA.