It’s been three months since a police van hit a pedestrian before ploughing into three homes in an informal settlement near Dunoon, but the victims are still waiting for compensation.
It was Saturday August 15, at about 5am, when the Cape Town Central police van hit a man on Malibongwe Drive, injuring his legs before smashing into the Zwelitsha shacks.
Akwanda Alan, of Zwezwe, as Zwelitsha is known by locals, says the van destroyed her home and its contents.
“My house, my bed, cupboards, TV and stand were all destroyed. There’s still no one taking responsibility for what happened. We’ve tried to follow this up with the proper authorities, but we still get treated as if we’re a nuisance.
It’s been three months since the accident, and no one has done anything to help us. We have a case number after opening a complaint on that same day, but we are still waiting,” she said.
Lumka Siwakhe, whose home was also destroyed, accused the police of not taking responsibility for what happened.
“We have been sent from pillar to post trying to get this case further. We’ve contacted the Road Accident Fund and laid a case at the police station in Table View, but, to date, nothing has been done. We can’t keep travelling trying to get our case heard as it costs a lot of money. We’ve been to the police station, small claims court, disaster management and other places, but no help.”
Ms Siwakhe said those who had lost their homes had had to stay with friends or shelter in a church. Ms Alan said they had had to find money to rebuild.
Before the van ploughed through Zwezwe, it hit Asanda Ngcobo, a security guard who was walking to work.
“I heard a screeching sound from behind. When I turned around, the car was already close, and I didn’t have time to move. It slammed into me, hitting my legs as I turned around and flung me against one of the houses. I suffered injuries to my legs, arms and head, and no ambulance came to take me to hospital. I took myself to hospital a few days later.”
Mr Ngcobo said he had not returned to work since the accident.
“I didn’t open a case against anyone as I didn’t even know where to begin. I would like to open a case though and get justice for what happened to me. I’ve lost a lot of time off work. They need to pay for what happened to me and the other people who lost their homes.”
Table View SAPS spokeswoman Captain Adriana Chandler said the cost of the damages caused by the crash had still not be calculated.
“Police have been in contact with the victims, and the matter was reported to the Road Accident Fund. The policeman sustained serious injuries and was only released from hospital recently. He is recovering. We are not sure what the cause of the accident was, but the case is still under investigation,” she said.
Cape Town Central police spokesman Captain Ezra October and Ndileka Cola, the spokeswoman for the Independent Police Investigative Directorate, both asked for questions to be emailed to them, but they did not respond by the time this edition went to print.
Some Dunoon and Zwezwe residents say they don’t expect the authorities to help the victims because of where they live.
Nonceba Tom, from adjacent Site 5, said the authorities treated them differently.
“It’s almost like everything that goes wrong is our fault. When there’re floods, it’s our fault. When there’s an outbreak of an illness like TB, it’s our fault. When there’s violence in the community, we all get blamed for the few bad apples “We can’t seem to catch a break, and it’s because we live where we live. We would be treated much differently if we lived 10 minutes away in Parklands.
Can you tell me why those people who lost their homes and belongings because of a reckless police officer have not received any form of assistance from the government? Think about that.”