Residents of Site 5 informal settlement, opposite Dunoon took the police to task at a weekend community meeting, saying it’s hard to raise children while surrounded by drugs and shebeens.
Table View police met with residents at Doornbach community hall on Saturday August 20 to advise victims of domestic violence, assault and sexual offences on what procedures to follow.
Residents gathered in their numbers and took the opportunity to vent about crime in the neighbourhood, pressing home the need for the police to protect the vulnerable as the sound of children playing could be heard in the background.
Residents complained that shebeens encouraged crime, and they flouted regulations governing their hours of business with impunity, keeping their doors open into the early morning hours. Alcohol and drug use, argued residents, were rife in the area as a result and it was hard getting an uninterrupted night’s sleep because of the noise.
“I am worried about the future of my child. There is a lot of drug use in the community and people are not working which leads to crime, that’s all I can say. The police can help if they patrol here,” said Site 5 resident Zikhona Dyobhoni.
Another resident said as soon as a shebeen next door to her home closed for the night, the owner of the establishment would take its speakers outside and the party would continue there, and neighbours couldn’t sleep.
She said a case had been opened against the shebeen owner because loud music and fighting had become the norm outside her home, but nothing had come of it.
Table View SAPS detective Constable Xolile Magingxi said police found many residents were unfamiliar with police procedure and did not follow up on their cases after opening them.
“If they open up a case, they must follow up because home addresses in informal settlements are not the same as residential areas, cellphone numbers also change or they are on voicemail so individuals are unreachable. They must follow up,” said Constable Magingxi.
Sharon Knowles from the Table View Community Police Forum (CPF) said residents could contact the forum if they were confused about what procedure to follow when reporting crimes. She acknowledged that some residents were scared to go to the police because they feared the community’s reaction.
“Sometimes we are scared of what will happen to us if we go to the police station, we are scared of what the community will think of us, but, as women, we have a voice, and we must stick together and use our voice,” she said.
“Spread the word of what has happened as we will bring it to the attention of the station commander and we will sort it out.”
Woman against Rape representative, Enrico Robinson encouraged residents to work together and support victims of rape and abuse.
“Police and the family may be sorted, but the person who is abused must live with it. We have counsellors who can assist you whether it’s telephonic or face to face and you can contact us even if you have a friend you would like to help.
“We have safe houses and groups you can join,” said Mr Robinson.