The Metropolitan Evangelistic Church in Lotus River was filled to capacity last night as frustrated residents engaged the Grassy Park Community Policing Forum (CPF) in a meeting to address the sporadic increase of crime. Grassy Park CPF spokesperson Phillip Bam said residents were left frustrated when the South African Police Services failed to attend the meeting, which was aimed at giving the broader community an opportunity to engage the police.
“Unfortunately, the police did not attend the meeting which angered residents. The police did notify me that the official who was scheduled to attend had to attend to a family matter, but that is still no excuse, someone else could have come out to address us,” he said.
Bam said residents vented about the poor delivery service, lack of pro-active policing, police arrogance and rude behaviour towards citizens. People who were arrested during the housing protests complained about being treated with the utmost disrespect.
“One of the main issues that were highlighted is the total disregard the police seem to have. Residents said that police members only seem to attend to their areas when there are reports of protest action but never attend to crimes reported to them,” he said.
The issue of gang violence and substance abuse was also raised, with residents alleging that police officials are in cahoots with drug dealers and gangs in the area.
“According to the community, the police know exactly who the drug distributors are and where the criminals live. But they would rather arrest someone outside of the drug house instead of conducting a search on the premise where they know drugs are sold from,” Bam stressed.
Bam said although the Anti-Gang Unit has been deployed to the area, it still needs assistance from the police to completely eradicate crime and gang violence.
Although the community appreciated the presence of Law Enforcement, Traffic and Metro Police at the meeting who reported and took note of the concerns of the community, they did not want to hear about lack of resources.
“If there are not enough members to protect us, then more staff should be recruited. The police and all key role players should revaluate their current strategy and find a way to better it so that our lives can improve on the Cape Flats,” he said.
Concerns were raised about the negative traffic impact the development of two big supermarkets would have potential on the already congested Victoria Road. Bam said these huge developments are going ahead without public participation. The CPF called for the traffic impact study report to be made available.
Dumping was another major concern. Residents were asked not to give rubble to the “trolley brigade” as they will dispose of it wherever they find a space all over the area. It was stated that it is no longer necessary to obtain a case number from SAPS when the wheelie Bin is stolen. An affidavit taken by the councillor would be sufficient to ensure replacement.