It was cowardly for the SAPS to remove a mobile police station from the Dunoon taxi rank during last week’s violent taxi, say residents.
This week there was still no sign of the station despite the strike having ended last Thursday.
The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) launched the crippling strike on Thursday August 3, accusing the City of unfairly impounding taxis. Cars were stoned, buses were torched and five people – including a British tourist and a law enforcement officer – were killed during the eight days of mayhem that followed (“Taxi strike disrupts Joe Slovo and Dunoon,” Tabletalk, August 8).
Dunoon residents say they noticed the mobile police station was missing in action from the rank a day into the strike, on Friday August 4.
“This isn’t the first time we have seen this,” said resident Cindy Bhengu. “The police station there was moved some time this year when there was another protest. I remember at the time it was moved closer to Dunoon clinic.
“My thing is, how can police not be able to protect themselves so that we don’t lose important services like this in the community? I think it’s a joke that we have police who are literally running away from possible danger.”
And Amanda Caleni said, “How can I trust these people to protect and serve us if they run away from a fight? All these years, we’ve called for a police station in this area, but even when we have, they send us a mobile station with police that clearly need protecting themselves. This country is a joke, I’m telling you.”
Residents welcomed the station when it opened in January (“Dunoon welcomes mobile police station,” Tabletalk, February 15), but a few months later, SAPS moved it without notice to the Dunoon clinic ahead of the EFF’s threatened national shutdown (“Dunoon needs a proper police station – residents,” Tabletalk, March 29).
Community activist Brenda Mayo said SAPS needed to find a way to provide better policing in Dunoon.
“Perhaps they need to consult community leaders and the councillor in the area. It cannot be that a strike can disrupt or even stop a police officer’s duties.
“I mean, yes, the strike had us all worried for our safety, and I do appreciate the fact that they want to keep their members happy. However, as residents, we look to them for help, and we see them as our safety net. Who do we turn to in times like these when even the cops make a run for it?”
Milnerton SAPS spokeswoman, Captain Nopaya Madyibi confirmed the mobile police station had been removed from the area due to the taxi strike.
“At the moment, the mobile station is at Milnerton police station. We can’t give the exact day as to when will it be moved back, but in due course it will be back to service the community. For the question of a permanent police station I would like to refer your office to the Provincial office,” she said.