From the news desk

Concerns of drug trade on the Cape Town Station


While gang violence continues to plague Cape Flats communities, complaints of increased drug trade and crime on the Cape Town Station deck and Grand Parade have become a cause for concern. The ‘deck’ houses the Cape Town taxi rank and many informal traders, with hundreds of commuters passing through daily.

Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, City of Cape Town Alderman JP Smith explains that while the City is separated from the work of national government, policing is included in national mandate. He confirmed that in light of the lack of security on the station deck, the deck has been scheduled for an upgrade by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

“The design of the station deck creates blind spots where the CCTV camera’s cannot see, it is a messy design, so its needs to be reworked.”

He says that while the City regularly meets with the South African Police Service (SAPS), crime stats reflecting the situation on the deck is generally unavailable.

“Part of the problem is that we don’t get to see the crime statistics. In the Provincial Crime Combating Forums, we are asked to leave the meetings before the crime stats are divulged. This makes it very difficult for us to do proper deployment,” Smith said.

Smith confirmed that the City has addressed the issue with MEC Dan Plato, since he has an oversight function over SAPS.

He further notes that given the shortage of staff and a restricted mandate, the city is unable to focus on addressing drug and crime issues, and instead directs their focus to gang-ridden hubs within the City.

“The City only has a handful of staff and very limited powers. But, if we do more on the deck that just means that we are taking our hand off other areas that also have drugs and crime, but more violence. So, we have been concentrating on areas with high levels of violence,” Smith continued.

The City’s Mayco member for security JP Smith says it needs the assistance of traders in pinpointing suspicious dealers.

“If traders are aware of suspects dealing in drugs, we need them to come forward and tell us exactly who they are. We can only do intelligence driven operations.”

VOC


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