Children 'too scared to play outside' in Ocean View

2018-07-10 10:18
Nearly 400 Ocean View residents handed over a petition to the police, calling for better policing in the area. (Thembela Ntongana, GroundUp)

Nearly 400 Ocean View residents handed over a petition to the police, calling for better policing in the area. (Thembela Ntongana, GroundUp)

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The regular echoes of gunshots in Ocean View have left residents scared to leave their homes and children "too scared to play outside", says Mastoera Williams, a community leader in the area, GroundUp reports.

On Sunday about 400 residents marched to the Ocean View police station, some holding placards that read: "Parents should not bury their children."

The group handed over a petition to the station commander, demanding that the area be made safer. They want CCTV cameras to be installed by August; an investigating officer to be on duty around the clock; and regular roadblocks and stop-and-search operations. Residents have also asked for street lights to be fixed and police vacancies to be filled.

Reading the memorandum, Williams said: "The community of Ocean View is infested with gangs, drugs, robbery, mugging and killings. This has been allowed to continue for far too long and it appears that nothing is being done to bring stability, safety and security to Ocean View. Government is failing us."

She said people were being killed on a weekly basis in the community.

It was the third time residents had taken to the streets to demand more police visibility. On September 22, residents clashed with police during a protest that started peacefully. They were demanding that police take action to reduce the high level of crime in the suburb.

6 people killed in 2 weeks

Ocean View police station services three other communities: Masiphumelele, Kommetjie and Scarborough, and has about 88 police officers.

On an open field next to the police station stands a memorial cross for two people who were shot dead. The field is near a block of flats and a park where children play.

Resident Steven Fritz told GroundUp that six people were gunned down in the last two weeks.

"The community is fed up. We have tried to engage with SAPS [South African Police Service] and the answer we get is that the problem lies with national government [which does] not want to deploy more police in Ocean View."

Fritz said over the last four years there had been an increase in gangsterism, drug use and robberies in the community.

Another resident, Vasco Vigils, said the City of Cape Town and the police were not doing enough.

"They shoot morning and night. The saddest thing is that the latest [shooting incident] happened at 09:00 last week next to a multi-purpose centre where children do activities."

Police taking situation 'very seriously'

Vigils said nearly 90% of gunshot victims were not gang members but cases of mistaken identity or bystanders.

"We all know that the [young gang members] do not go for shooting training and so innocent bystanders become victims."

Station commander Lieutenant Colonel Monwabisi Buzwayo signed and accepted the residents' memorandum. He has worked in Ocean View since November 2017. On Thursday, representatives from the police, City of Cape Town and other organisations are expected to meet to discuss some of the issues raised by residents.

Buzwayo said: "The senior management is aware and is taking this Ocean View matter very seriously. To some people it might seem as if we are not serious enough. My phone rings even at 01:00 and I know something bad has happened."

Buzwayo said one of the biggest challenges was not getting support and co-operation from the community.

"Last week we searched most of the houses because we heard that [criminals] are hiding there, but we didn't find anyone because people are hiding them."

Read more on:    police  |  cape town  |  gang violence  |  crime

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