As Capetonians prepare to celebrate over the festive season and New Year’s period, there is a high risk of heightened activity at illegal shebeens and drug dens across the city. Aiming to curb community members getting too carried away with their year end celebrations, the Manenberg Police has launched a festive season plan to tackle any potential substance or alcohol abuse.
“Those are the areas that we really need to focus on in order to contain the crime, and the police will be particularly watching those areas,” said Kader Jacobs of the Manenberg Community Policing Forum (CPF).
According to Jacobs, whilst celebrations during this period started of innocently for many residents, the influence of intoxicants meant that parties usually ended with some form of violent incident.
To assist them in their operations, Manenberg police are also seeking to spur community involvement in tackling the issue. The area’s neighborhood watches are expected to up visibility, acting as a watchdog to inform police of any suspicious activity.
Jacobs suggested there were at least 60 known illegal shebeens operating within Manenberg, as well as a similar amount of drug dens. He noted that these locations had been the subject of police raids on several previous occasions, with illegal substances confiscated and several individuals also arrested.
“The alcohol is an easy one, but the drugs are a bit complicated. This is because the methods for storing substances have become very sophisticated. An example would be people buying unsliced bread, and then storing the drugs inside the bread,” he explained.
He added the Manenberg Police would seek to heighten and intensify the raids over the coming weeks.
At the same time, there have been widespread complaints over police officers being complicit in drug activities, and Jacobs said this was no different in the Manenberg community. However, he stressed that those officers were in the minority, with some already suspended or under investigation.
“We do depend on the community to feed us information, and there are ways in which it can be done anonymously. The community is of great assistance when it comes to police complicity in the commitment of crime,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)