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Khayelitsha’s Makhaza community to finally get police station after two-decade wait — but it’s only temporary

Khayelitsha’s Makhaza community to finally get police station after two-decade wait — but it’s only temporary
Residents joined police officers and contractors on the field in Makhaza, Khayelitsha where it was announced that a temporary prefabricated police station will be set up on the land. (Photos: Mary-Anne Gontsana)

This comes nearly nine years after the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into policing recommended that a new station be built in Makhaza.

Residents of Makhaza in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, have welcomed the announcement that they will be allocated a satellite police station by October.

This comes nearly nine years after the release of the report by the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into policing in which one of the recommendations was that a new police station be built in Makhaza.

But the community’s fight for adequate policing dates back almost two decades because an open field was identified in 2004 for the new station to be built. Among the issues brought before the Commission was that police stations in Khayelitsha, Harare and Site B, were significantly understaffed and under-resourced.

To mark five years since the Commission made its recommendations, the Social Justice Coalition together with Makhaza residents occupied the vacant site in 2019 and built a wall, using concrete bricks and cement, in the centre of the land. The wall is painted white with “Makhaza Police Station” written in black paint.

A mobile police station was opened in Makhaza in November 2021 and is situated inside the Makhaza Shopping Centre. But residents say it is useless and they still have to travel to Harare police station to report crime.

On Tuesday, a crowd of residents joined police officers and contractors on the field where it was finally announced that a temporary prefabricated police station will be set up on the land. The first phase of the project will be erecting a fence around the land to secure the space before the prefab will be delivered by October.

Ward Councillor Lucky Mbiza told attendees, “We are thankful, but we are mostly looking forward to a permanent, brick-and-mortar police station. I hope this really is temporary because we will not stop campaigning until there is a proper station on this site.”

Mbiza said that reporting crime in Makhaza is extremely difficult for residents. “Just a week ago I heard reports that two women were raped. The mobile police station was no help at all,” said Mbiza.

Site for Makhaza police station, Khayelitsha

The Social Justice Coalition and Makhaza residents occupied the vacant site in 2019 and built this wall in a bid to get police to fast-track plans for the new police station on this site. (Photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana)

Ndithini Tyhido, chairperson of the Khayelitsha Development Forum, which has been at the forefront of campaigning for the police station, urged the community to allow the project to be implemented without delays. “We know how people are. Next thing there will be problems with people up in arms because ‘Vuyo’ was employed and ‘Thabo’ wasn’t. Any mistake or delay will only leave the Makhaza community suffering,” said Tyhido.

Simbongile Magidigidi has been living in Makhaza for more than 20 years. He echoed the sentiment of other residents who welcomed the prefab station. “Our mobile station is not helpful. It’s inside the mall, so when the mall closes its gates at 6pm, you can only speak to a police officer through the fence. Imagine being robbed or chased by thieves and you cannot even run to the police station.

“These [prefab units] will show that progress is finally being made. It is honestly a long time coming,” said Magidigidi.

According to him, the biggest problems in Makhaza currently is the rise of gangsterism and violence against women.

Western Cape police spokesperson Andre Traut told GroundUp that the construction of a permanent police station in Makhaza was still scheduled for the 2025/2026 financial year. DM

First published by GroundUp.

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