Residents want peace

2018-10-30 06:01
Members of the Sixth Avenue informal settlement residents’ committee, from left, Mushfieka Davids, Cassiem Isaacs, Rashieda Hans and Jimmy Xalipi, with the remains of stun grenades allegedly fired by police.PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

Members of the Sixth Avenue informal settlement residents’ committee, from left, Mushfieka Davids, Cassiem Isaacs, Rashieda Hans and Jimmy Xalipi, with the remains of stun grenades allegedly fired by police.PHOTO: luvuyo mjekula

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Residents of Sixth Avenue informal settlement are offering Kensington police an olive branch.

Community leader Jimmy Xalipi says: “No-one has a right to interfere with the work of the police.We have even discussed the possibility of local residents joining the Community Policing Forum (CPF) and possibly a neighbourhood watch.”

Relations between the two parties were strained recently when they clashed after police raided the area in a joint operation against illegal liquor outlets.

Police apparently fired stun grenades after the residents allegedly hurled stones at them. The residents collected the grenade remains and say they will keep them as evidence.

In a report to People’s Post, the police condemned what they termed an attack on some of their officers. “It is a grave concern when a community attacks the police whilst performing their duties,” reads a statement from the local station.

Police say the community turned on them, hurling stones and bricks. However, the residents expressed disappointment at the statement, in turn accusing the police of assaulting one of their members before arresting him.

The residents feel the police’s actions, including releasing a media statement, were uncalled for.

They say there was no need for police to assault the resident and the olice should not have fired grenades. This apparently made the residents angry, leading to a violent reaction.

“They treated us like dogs,” says one resident.

The residents further say the police’s decision to condemn them through the media went against a decision taken at a meeting between the two parties, the CPF and ward councillor Helen Jacobs on Monday 24 September.

At the meeting it was agreed that a follow-up meeting would be held after the arrested resident was released. The residents say the meeting never took place and thus they were not afforded the opportunity to state their side of the story.

They are calling on all the parties to meet as per the earlier decision and are hopeful that the meeting will result in a third meeting where all the parties will finalise a peace pact.

In response, police spokesperson, Sergeant Angeline Grill, said the police “could not find any assault against the police regarding the incident of the alleged assault on this specific evening”.

Grill explains: “The police were in the process of taking the suspect to the police station when the suspect called onlookers and incited them to assist him while he was resisting arrest. This was seen as the cause of the community throwing stones at police, who retreated into some other shacks and the stone throwing then became worse and even led to shots being fired at police officers.”

Grill says as far as Kensington police are concerned, the partnership and cordial relationship were restored after the first meeting as work continued normally.

She says a follow-up meeting would be between the police and Jacobs.

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