Amidst the City of Cape Town’s announcement of an investment initiative aimed at improving conditions in the gang-infested area of Manenberg, the Manenberg Community Policing Forum has expressed concern at a lack of consultation on the plans with the community. This comes despite those behind the project having surveyed the community in a bid to gauge the requirements needed to address the area’s problems.
“The issue is that there was no consultation once this data had been collated, or asking of the community’s input after the initial proto-plan had been developed,” said forum chairperson, Kader Jacobs.
This is despite Premier Helen Zille suggesting the project would be the result of widespread public consultation and involvement.
The proposed development includes an investment of around R3 billion towards a community ‘hub’ for residents, as well as the establishment of a new hospital to replace the old GF Jooste hospital. The old Jooste building itself is being coveted by the City of Cape Town for the construction of a Safety and Security Policing and Community Training College in the area.
From the CPF’s point of view, Jacobs said they held concerns around the immediate safety of residents. Laying the example of the erection of Nyanga Junction, which falls as part of the Manenberg precinct, he noted that at the time there been little consultation on the centre’s establishment. Nyanga Junction has since becoming a hotspot for crime in the area.
“Not adequate attention was given to all the safety and security issues around that, and it is in fact on of the highest crime areas in terms of muggings, robberies and hold-ups in that particular mall,” he said, expressing concern over a repeat situation with the new development.
Jacobs said the community were likely to have ideas on how best to manage their own safety and security. This in turn could provide opportunities for many in the area to be employed to enforce whatever measures they could come up with.
Despite the concerns, he said they would eager to see concrete movement with the proposed development once everything has been approved.
“We’ve got the local elections in 2016, so hopefully this isn’t being used to bolster a particular party,” he added. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)