Hanover Park’s ward councillor has rejected concerns that he has shown a lack of involvement in addressing crime in the area by insisting that both he, as well as the city council have gone beyond their respective mandates to ensure residents safety is of top priority.
Hanover Park has long been a hotspot for crime and gang related activity, and residents recently voiced their displeasure at the state of policing in the area by marching towards the Philippi police station, demanding better visibility from SAPS on the streets. Western Cape MEC for Community Safety, Dan Plato also held a meeting with the community last week about the current situation in the area.
Ward Councillor Antonio van der Rheede said his mandate related to services provided by the City of Cape Town, notably the Metro Police which is responsible for by-law enforcement and crime prevention. The tackling of gang violence would however fall under the mandate of SAPS.
“I can agree with the community sentiment that the service provided by the local SAPS is not up to standard. Hence the councillor has had to secure added services,” he stated, referencing his decision to introduce CCTV cameras, a law enforcement unit and a neighbourhood safety officer amongst other services.
While councillors are expected to hold meetings at least once a quarter with different organisations and role-players within their respective communities, van der Rheede insisted he was “far exceeding” those requirements.
He levelled some blame on the shoulders of the local Community Policing Forum (CPF) as well, describing the structure as being not representative of the community.
“Your CPF is supposed to be the watchdog to ensure the community’s interests are protected and that SAPS delivers their service according to their mandate,” he insisted.
Despite this, van der Rheede said he was somewhat encouraged by the communities engagement in trying to address crime, in particular highlighting specific groups of women who were rising to the occasion and patrolling the streets in some sections of Hanover Park.
“I believe if it wasn’t for the women our area would be worse than it currently is, so I take solace in that. Women tend to partner more meaningfully,” he said.
“It is primarily because of the lack of service from SAPS that the community is rising to the occasion to take charge of the area and make it safer.”
Van der Rheede added that he was willing to partner with any resident willing to take up the challenge against crime. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)