Suspension of K’litsha cops leaves residents in fear of increased criminal activity

2009-10-28 13:45

RESIDENTS of BT Section in Khayelitsha say they are living in fear

of criminals following the suspension of eight members of an SAPS Rapid Response

and Training Unit who operated in the area.

The residents say the suspension of the eight – six police

reservists and two constables – has left fewer police to patrol the


The eight are currently facing seven charges, including murder, in

the Khayelitsha Magistrates’ Court in connection with the death of a suspect in

custody on September 28. The state alleges that the unit members, who are

currently out on bail of R500 each, beat Sivuyile Mnyanda (22) to death while he

was in police custody after being arrested for robbery.

Khayelitsha police spokesperson Anneke van der Vyver confirmed that

the eight members had been suspended without pay pending an internal police

investigation but could not say when the investigation would be concluded.

The duties of the unit, which was divided into two groups of four

and focused mainly on Site C, included combating robberies, housebreakings,

murders, rapes and theft.

In a snap survey conducted in BT section, residents said police

visibility in the area was down and police now only responded to emergency


Residents said youth had been seen carrying guns and knives openly.

Shopkeepers reported opening later and closing earlier to avoid being open when

it was dark.

Resident Asenathi Siphika (40) said the lack of police in the area

was leading to an increase in crime.

“People are being robbed in daylight,” said Siphika.

Nonkosi Mbhalo (35), who owns a fruit and vegetable stall, said she

no longer carried large amounts of cash or stock because it was not safe.

“Three people were robbed in front of my stall yesterday and no one

did anything. We are not safe here and we demand more police to come and patrol

our streets,” said Mbhalo.

Shopkeeper Ahmed Salim Mohamed (33) said he had not been robbed for

about eight months but was afraid he would be targeted.

“I have been robbed weekly previously but when the police kept

patrolling the area the robbers stopped coming to my shop. If the police stop

coming to this area many innocent lives will be lost,” said Mohamed.

But Van der Vyver said residents should not worry about security

because more police would be deployed to the area “in the near future” and they

would take over the duties of the unit.

Meanwhile, she said police who had been working in the area, other

than the eight members of the unit, would continue with their duties. – West

Cape News

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