As gang violence rips through the Cape Flats, gang related activity within the so-called ‘townships’ appears to be unnoticed. Tuesday night’s killing spree in Nyanga, which resulted in the death of four individuals and injured three, awakened Cape Flats communities to the realities of life within the townships of the Cape Flats. The area of Nyanga, statistics suggest, has one the highest murder rates in the country and is titled by many as the ‘murder capital’ of South Africa.
Nyanga’s Community Police Forum (CPF) secretary, Dumisani Qwebe, explained that the area of Nyanga has faced a surge of gangsterism for years. A problem that has gone unnoticed by provincial and national government.
“We did tell the provincial government that we need an intervention because Nyanga is in danger. You cannot have a situation like this where kids are being killed for no reason,” Qwebe stated.
He further noted that the situation in Nyanga is exacerbated by the existence of under resourced services.
Qwebe explained that the CPF has found that the perpetrators are not residents of Nyanga, but instead venture into Nyanga from neighbouring communities.
“Within a week, Nyanga had more than 20 murder cases, which poses a serious challenge in the area,” Qwebe asserted.
The CPF has formally requested the presence of Metro Police and an intelligence operation within the area. A request, which he states, was never accepted.
The Nyanga CPF, Qwebe affirmed, is on board with the South African Police Service (SAPS) to assist in alleviating the crime rate.
‘We honoured the call to combat crime’
Nyanga ward councillor, Khaya Yozi, explained that the Nyanga Ward Council honoured the call, which was made by government a few years, for communities to assist the SAPS with combatting crime.
Despite the fact that the Ward Council established a neighbourhood watch, the community remains under resourced.
“Nyanga is extremely under resourced. The community only has access to one patrolling van per cluster, and each cluster is made up of more than area. One van is, therefore, not adequate,” Yozi asserted.
Since personnel are required to patrol the area, whilst others are required to remain at the police station, there are is a sufficient number of officers to fulfil all the roles.
“We ask why we are allocated police trainees from community college – this is the murder capital in the country. We need to see reinvigorated energy within the police force.”
Yozi explained that each investigator is allocated approximately 600 dockets, which creates a backlog in investigation since priority cases take preference.
“It is unacceptable that each investigator has to have such a large load to follow-up. We have raised these issues with the police, parliament, and in the policing study.”
He affirmed that local government promised both intervention and a new police station, which he asserts is yet to be delivered.
“We have approached every possible mechanism, including, minister Dan Plato. The deputy minister has documentation of our submission.”
Gangs in Nyanga, Yozi noted, do not include members of the popular gangs found in the area of Manenberg. Instead, Nyanga gangs are established by school children in the areas in which they reside.
Children are, therefore, unable to venture into clusters that are ‘controlled’ by opposing gangs.
The Nyanga Ward Council is scheduled to organize protest action directed toward mobilizing the community of Nyanga, Lusaka and the surrounding areas, in order to begin mass action against gang and crime-related activity.
“We are going to stand up for ourselves, the lives of the residents of Nyanga are very important,” Yozi concluded.