Mfuleni township residents demand better policing
Written by Yazeed Kamaldien
A handful of Mfuleni township residents marched on the local police station this weekend, demanding better protection from criminals.
On Saturday morning, residents stood with placards at the station where three murders were reported that morning.
Western Cape police spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut, confirmed the murders included a man “stabbed to death close to the taxi rank” on Saturday morning.
He added that on Friday night a “man and his son were shot and killed in Umbilo Street (in Mfuleni) by two unknown suspects who are yet to be arrested”.
Residents meanwhile carried placards through the area, claiming police were inefficient. They also accused police officers of arriving hours after a crime has been committed.
One resident claimed that police have told them to bring criminals to the police station.
In response to these claims, the police said they were doing their job.
Among yesterday’s protesters was Silvester Moloi who said they would meet various NGOs next week to plan a bigger protest through Mfuleni’s streets.
“We are unhappy with the police. We called them about one break-in at 6am and they only came to us at 9am. We have a lot of crime and it is growing,” he said.
“Every time when we call the police, they tell us there is only one van. I have been to this police station to find that it is locked. They even told us when we called them that we should bring the criminal with us to the police station.”
Moloi said police officers in Mfuleni have also told them to report crime to the police station in Blue Downs, the suburb nearest to the township.
Another Mfuleni resident, Lundi Ngqiniso, said they were “sick and tired of what is happening in our community”. He said they wanted to “stand with the police to fight this crime”.
“We are not allowed to take the law in our hands. So we came here to protest. But we are not protesting against the police. We want to work with them,” he said.
“The main concern is that people in the township catch a lot of thieves. Then when we call the police, they take time to fetch criminals. We want to address the matter. It’s becoming the norm.”
He said locals would also “accuse people of robbing someone and beat them (alleged criminals)”. “We want to rather involve the police to deal with criminals,” said Ngqiniso.
Cecilia Buthelezi said gangsters were also operating in the area, resulting in violent crime.
“We have robberies, housebreaking and when you go to work in the morning ‘skollies’ (gangsters) take your bags and run. Sometimes they stab people. We are not safe,” she said.
“We have seen a ‘skollie’ who was caught but then released. It is unfair. They break in today, go to the jail, and tomorrow they are out.”
Teenagers Theo Morero, 17, and Yamkela Johnson, 16, also participated in the protest.
Johnson said: “Criminals take our cell phones and cables from churches. They also steal taps. I’m tired of criminals and the police don’t help us with criminals.”
Traut said “every person is entitled to a professional service” from the police.
“Adequate resources are available to police the Mfuleni area and if these resources are not applied properly, the community is encouraged to lodge official complaints regarding a particular incident, so that the circumstances can be investigated,” said Traut.
It is not the first time that township residents claim that police services are inefficient.
Earlier this year, the Khayelitsha Commission concluded its investigation into allegations of police inefficiency in Khayelitsha. This was a result of a communication breakdown between residents and the police.