Newly appointed police major-general of Mitchell’s Pain, Gregory Goss says while circumstances look bleak, police are making inroads into crime in the area, but not at the required rate. He was addressing community members and crime fighters at the Lentegeur Civic Centre, at a crime strategy meeting called by the provincial Department of Community Safety.
With the new police precinct in the community, SAPS will need to fill all vacant positions within the police service so that there are more resources in assisting the ongoing fight against crime and violence. Goss told residents that while he understands the dissatisfaction within the community, police were rooting out crime. For this month alone, they have confiscated 35 firearms.
“This tells us that despite the recovery of this amount of firearms there is still a lot more that needs to be done, as many innocent people are still dying on a day to day basis,” said Goss.
The meeting formed part of the department’s Policing Needs and Priorities (PNPs) consultation which has taken place in many communities to identify the problems that residents face. The forums aim to reassess how the community, police and other stakeholders such as local neighbourhood watches and community policing forums can work hand in hand with the police to fight issues such as gangsterism and drug as well as all other contributing factors.
Community members who were invited and those who form part of the community police forum aired their grievances regarding the lack of police visibility. Parents said their families were under siege by the gang warfare in the area.
Community Police Forum members have recently told VOC News that the residents experienced gang shootings on a daily basis, which mostly went unreported in the media. After a lull last week, Monday started off on a bloody note with the killing of Muhammad Adnaan Pedro, shot on his way to work.
Plato said it was important to engage with the broader community and that the public have a platform to express their frustration with gangsterism and drug peddling in their community.
“While there is an array of plans in place to curb the many issues that the community face, it is a work in progress and therefore there was a need to reassess the work we have been doing thus far.”
One of the main problems the community faced was the lack of information filtering between authorities and the public, an issue his office will tackle. While a few residents felt that nothing has changed since the previous consultation, a lot more feel that this could be the beginning of positive changes for the area of Mitchell’s Plain and Strandfontein.
Lentegeur resident Ibrahim Moses said he was pleased the MEC took the time to listen to the community.
“I know that the MEC has walked the streets of Tafelsig and Beacon Valley to talk to the people who are affected by the ongoing gang related violence on a day to day basis,” said Moses.
Residents at the meeting said they will continue to work alongside police, the CPF and neighbourhood watches in the fight against the scourge. VOC (Imogen Vollenhoven)