Concerns over Flamingo Heights

2018-11-06 06:00
The entrance to the Flamingo Heights informal settlement in Flamingo Crescent, Lansdowne.PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

The entrance to the Flamingo Heights informal settlement in Flamingo Crescent, Lansdowne.PHOTOS: AISHAH CASSIEM

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Following the recent arrest of two men for alleged drug dealing in Flamingo Heights informal settlement, neighbours have called on council to increase social interventions in the community.

In a statement, Sergeant Nkululeko Mnyaka, spokesperson for Lansdowne Police Station, confirms suspects were caught for drug possession at about 06:40 in the informal settlement after being found with tik.

It is believed that the two suspects drove into the camp in a black car without noticing that the police were patrolling on foot inside the camp.

Despite being asked to stop the car, after being spotted by the police, the driver still tried to reverse the car to escape.

“But his plan to escape was unsuccessful. They (suspects) were searched and caught out. A clear plastic [bag] containing 58 grams of tik worth R3500 was found on the driver, along with R8100 worth of cash on the passenger.

“Both men were arrested and detained at Lansdowne Police Station and are currently facing charges of possession of drugs. They (suspects) appeared in Wynberg Magistrate’s Court last Tuesday and were released on R5000 bail each. They are set to appear in court again on 15 January,” he adds.

Lansdowne residents are calling on the ward councillor and the local police to intervene in the alleged drug activity.

The informal settlement, which is just metres away from the police station, is home to alleged “silent drug dealers”, says resident and business owner Achmat Khan.

Yumnah Meyer adds that more programmes should be implemented in the camp to keep both youths and adults from turning to illegal activities.

“We are calling on the ward councillor to help these people with more programmes and to ensure that they are actually making use of it.These children have nothing to do during the day. They mess around in drain water or play on the walls of factories surrounding the camp.”

The area’s ward councillor, Mark Kleinschmidt, says that in order to address the issue of identifying and executing essential programmes for the settlers, he has allocated funding for a full-time fieldworker to be trained by the City of Cape Town’s Informal Settlements Social Services Division, to work specifically in Flamingo Heights.

Kleinschmidt says the entity in which he has spent most of his time since becoming the ward councillor has been in the very same settlement­.

“There are residents of Flamingo Heights who want to improve their lives, but the social scourge of substance abuse is strong, and we experience the same in the entire metropole of Cape Town.With the City’s social development directorate I have spent ward allocation funding on upliftment programmes with residents and educational equipment for an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre.

“I also hosted a substance abuse and domestic violence programme, along with an anti-bullying 21-day campaign for the residents of Flamingo Heights.

“The attendees visited local schools, as well as residents in the area.”

He says the interventions have ensured that the children in question have been enrolled at Athwood, Portia and York Road primary schools.

“I have also allocated ward allocation funding to the Lansdowne Library which plays an integral role in hosting homework and holiday clubs for the children from Flamingo Heights.

“The Lansdowne Children’s Forum and Ministers’s Ecumenical Forum, of which I’m an ex-officio member, have also conducted outreach programmes.

“Although there are individual residents calling out for more social upliftment programmes, there are many who believe that I spent too much time and resources on Flamingo Heights.

“I call on those residents who wish to assist to avail themselves to partner with me to uplift this marginalised area.”

He says the re-blocking of the informal settlement by the City has also facilitated emergency vehicles to enter the area in the event of fires, and ambulances in the event of medical emergencies.

“All forms of criminality such as drug dealing or shebeens must be reported to Lansdowne police. That is their mandate, and they (Lansdowne police) have done raids at Flamingo Heights.

“The Community Policing Forum (CPF), under the chairmanship of Rafique Foflonker, has also done continuous work to address crime in the settlement.

“My ongoing partnership with the CPF to address the social and criminal issues has been excellent,” he adds.

Lansdowne police’s acting station commander, Lieutenant Gilbert Booysen, urges residents of the informal settlement to inform the police about any drug dealing happening in their surroundings.

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