Cape Town’s Macassar residents demand more police resources as bodies pile up
A small community on the outskirts of Cape Town with limited police services has become a dumping site for criminals to leave dead bodies.
Macassar near Cape Town has become a dumping ground for dead bodies, with four dumped there in just one week, from 27 May to 4 June.
On the morning of Saturday, 27 May, the body of an unidentified woman, believed to be in her thirties, was found floating in shallow water on Macassar Beach.
A fisherman discovered the body at around 7am. A postmortem revealed that the victim was raped then killed and dumped on the beach. A 41-year-old man was arrested in connection with the murder and rape.
A day later, the body of a man suspected to have been stabbed to death was found in bushes on Macassar Road.
In a third incident, on Thursday, 1 June, at around 4.30pm, a body was found floating in a pool of water on Macassar Road.
The last incident was on Saturday, 3 June, when another body was found dumped on Macassar Road. No arrests have been made regarding the bodies found on 28 May, 1 June and 3 June.
‘No resources here’
“There are no police resources here,” said local Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Pastor Mark Baatjies. “If, for example, there is a car accident and police suspect drinking and driving, they have to take that individual to Athlone and there will be no officers to attend to any incidents until they return.”
The Macassar community highlighted its needs on 5 April when it submitted a memorandum of demands to the police top brass.
“We are waiting for the police reserves that must be trained and brought here to fill the gaps,” said Baatjies.
The local neighbourhood watch and CPF carry out occasional patrols to maintain visibility.
There is a police-to-population ratio of one officer for every 941 residents in Macassar, according to Reagen Allen, the Western Cape MEC for police oversight and community safety.
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He said the dumping of dead bodies in Macassar, “is harrowingly alarming and clearly demonstrates a need for greater policing visibility in the area”.
He said he would engage with the office of the provincial police commissioner to look at how to increase visible policing in the area.
Ward councillor Peter Helfrich said: “It is very clear that almost all of the bodies being dumped in the ward are bodies of persons who do not reside in the ward.”
He says they had probably been murdered elsewhere before being dumped in Macassar.
“The rapid increase in the dumping of bodies in the ward coincides with the extended Eskom power outages we are experiencing,” said Helfrich.
“It is not the first time bodies have been found dumped here. Macassar seems to be becoming a dumping hotspot for bodies.”
Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said, “As a response to the crimes committed during this period, deployments along identified hotspots in Macassar have been augmented with members from the SAPS flying squad, Anti-Gang, K-9 and mounted units.
“Meanwhile, in the medium term, additional police officials are scheduled to be deployed to Macassar SAPS. With more members making their way to Macassar SAPS, more vehicles performing operational duties in the area are expected.”
Potelwa said that an integrated team from the provincial and district levels would soon assess resources at Macassar’s police station and operations within the station.
“It is worth noting that power outages due to load shedding or any other technical electricity issue impact the operations of SAPS. However, as a mitigating measure, each police station is equipped with a generator to avoid adverse impacts on service delivery.” DM