Public violence taking officers from other parts of Cape Town

2016-04-19 16:00
(Picture: City of Cape Town)

(Picture: City of Cape Town)

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Cape Town – Law enforcement officers and metro police have been withdrawn from all over Cape Town to help attend to recent incidents of public violence, a city official said on Tuesday.

“We have had lots of complaints from people asking where did your staff go?” safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith told News24.

He said officers were being taken out of leafy suburbs, and gang-stricken areas like Manenberg and Bonteheuwel, after public violence broke out in Mfuleni, Klipheuwel, Dunoon and Onverwacht on Monday.

Onverwacht remained closed on Tuesday as bags of rubbish were set alight. Protesters were apparently also looting Somalian shops in Klipheuwel on Tuesday.

Smith said they had to prioritise immediate threats over potential threats.

“Stones being thrown, property being lit – that must get immediate attention. They have to be attended to because you can’t allow a riot to claim human lives.”

Ten of the city’s rent-a-cops posted at Long Street were among those withdrawn.

According to Smith, their security officials were exhausted, working long hours and "barely able to see out their eyes".

They were standing down for hours on end and guarding roads, bus stations, and electricity depots.

"It’s wasting money, resources and destroying investor confidence."

A shortage of security vehicles was “a serious problem”. Many of their smaller vehicles had been peppered with stones and were thus not roadworthy, he said.

But Cape Town was no exception for public violence and protests.

"We are not the worst affected city in South Africa. Can you imagine how it is going in Johannesburg? They lead the pack in terms of public protests."

Smith said the city was merely helping the police in its duties.

He described the withdrawal of staff as an untenable situation, because it had a knock-on effect for areas that relied on visible policing.

“It will not change until arrests are made and the police charge people, not release them. No matter what your alleged grievance, you never have an excuse to destroy property.”

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime

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