A group of community members known as Proudly Bonteheuwel (PB) have accused the Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum (BJPF) of blowing the crime situation in the area out of proportion. A representative for PB, Jonathan Cupido said that ever since a wave of gang related crime broke out months ago, police visibility has improved and law enforcement officials has frequented the area and the level of violence has decreased. This follows allegations by the BJPF that the City of Cape Town’s Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith has refused to meet with residents to discuss their gripes. They have since written an open letter to the Mayor and Premier Helen Zille to address their issues urgently or face protests.
“The PB group was invited to a meeting with Alderman JP Smith and the BJPF expressed their grievance with us being present at the meeting,” said Cupido.
Nonetheless a later meeting proved to bear positive results as the area is now under constant surveillance by police and law enforcement, said Cupido.
“For the past week there has been no shooting incidents taking place, if so I am unaware of it. I live in one of the hotspots of Bonteheuwel and so far there has only been one incident in which one person has been killed,” said Cupido.
All senior schools in the area are also being raided by Metro police, while police are also randomly searching people on the streets.
“Since police and metro police have been actively patrolling the area there has been no major problems. The City officials are more than willing to assist, but it is up to the community to speak out and ask for assistance.”
Cupido said that none of the community members he spoke to has any knowledge of who the BJPF is and who they are representing.
The PB group said that they do not believe in organizing marches. Instead, they do more for the community themselves by assisting the needy, organizing talks on drugs, and giving assistance to families who are downtrodden by the ongoing drug and gang war affecting the area.
However, Cupido said they are willing to work alongside the BJPF to make the area better and safer area for all.
Chairperson of the BJPF, Soraya Salie has declined to comment. Meanwhile, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato is expected to meet with residents on Monday evening. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)