Residents from Khayelitsha and people from across the city marched to parliament to deliver a memorandum to minister of police Nathi Nhleko on Tuesday. Today marks one year since the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry released its report to improve safety in Khayelitsha and across the country.
However, Khayelitsha’s Harare police station recorded the second highest number of murders in the country for the 2013/2014 year. Protesters at this rally attribute this to the fact that there are less police stationed in the Khayelitsha area. They have called for the fair distribution of policing resources in the area and other crime ridden areas in the country.
Nomacebo Mbayo from the Right to Know Campaign says that the recommendations made in the report needs to be implemented in Khayelitsha.
“Ever since the report the police is still not visible in the area, when it comes to violence in the homes the police are not available,” Mbayo explained.
“We as the Right To Know campaign fully support the memorandum.”
The memorandum states that the ministry should implement the changes put forward in the report. It calls for a greater police presence in the Khayelitsha area as this area has been sorely affected by increasing crime rates.
Chumile Sali from the Social Justice Coalition said he was told that a task team was being formed to address this issue in Khayelitsha. However a year after the report was released, he feels that this is an indication that ‘black lives do not matter’.
“The lives of black people are not taken seriously by the ministry of police,” Sali stated.
Activist Zackie Achmat says that in wealthy communities, approximately six murders a year are investigated whereas in Khayelitsha there were 164 murders reported. Yet the area has three times fewer police as opposed to more affluent areas. To add to that, many of them are student constables.
“We want to see that townships must have equitable resourcing that doesn’t look like apartheid, whether it is in Mitchell’s Plain, delft or Khayelitsha and throughout the country,” Achmat continued.
The memorandum was handed over to a representative from the ministry of police. He said the ministry will continue to meet with community leaders in order to find a solution to the problem.
A sit/sleep in front of parliament is currently under way and the community members have said that they will remain there till Friday awaiting a response from the minister with regards to their grievances. VOC (Umarah Hartley)