Kensington community pickets for more police resources

Community Policing Forum says SAPS has committed to providing at least nine new officers

Photo of protesters

Kensington residents standonVoortrekker Road, demanding more police resources. Photo: Sune Payne

By Sune Payne

11 September 2017

On Sunday, about 50 residents of Kensington in the Cape Town northern suburbs picketed along Voortrekker Road demanding more police to combat gangsterism in the community.

This follows numerous shooting incidents in the area over the past few months, some fatal. In July, 11-year-old Ruben September was killed in crossfire. In June, 14-year-old Lushane Goliath was killed. Both cases are still under investigation.

Resident Sonia Parsons says that at times the area erupts “like wildfire”.

“It’s now daily. Sometimes it’s early in the morning, sometimes in the middle of the night. Or they [ gangsters] will start now. You sit and you hear how it starts,” says Parsons. “We all want our children to have a good future and that our area can be peaceful – where children can be children. They’re no longer children; they’re children in a grown-up world.”

Zainulabideen van der Schyff, secretary of the Kensington Street Committee and Neighbourhood Watch, cites various issues that contribute to the gang situation. “No recreation facilities have been developed in our area. So we have youth that leave school. Now, they’re unemployed and so they become despondent … They become susceptible to joining gangs. From there, crime escalates.”

Cheslyn Steenberg from the Kensington Community Policing Forum says they handed over a memorandum to the Kensington South African Police Service (SAPS) in July. A meeting was held with the Deputy Provincial Police Commissioner’s Office on 6 September. Steenberg said the outcome of the meeting was that Kensington police would receive nine new permanent members and significantly more detectives. When asked to confirm this, SAPS spokesperson Seargent Noloyiso Rwexana told GroundUp “Kensington SAPS has been prioritised”.

Steenberg says the picket “reaffirms the commitment of the community to work with SAPS in combating crime”.

Sergeant Angeline Grill from the Kensington SAPS says, “We were there to support the community policing forum and members of the community because they’re part of us.”

This article was updated after publication with Seargent Rwexana’s comment.