Nearly two decades later, Makhaza police station is finally set to open soon

Meanwhile the community is being serviced by a 24-hour patrol and a mobile unit

By Mary-Anne Gontsana

11 December 2023

Construction of a new temporary police station in Makhaza, Khayelitsha is to be completed before the end of the year. This comes nearly 20 years after the site was first identified and the need for another station was expressed by the community. Photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana

Nearly 20 years since the site for the police station in Makhaza, Khayelitsha was first identified, construction of the temporary station is finally nearing its completion and could be open soon.

South African Police Service (SAPS) Western Cape spokesperson, Andre Traut, told GroundUp that contractors are on site to erect the prefabricated units which will accommodate the new Makhaza police station.

“It is our endeavour to take occupation of the building before the end of the year if construction is not delayed by unforeseen circumstances,” said Traut. But this will be temporary until a permanent station is built in the 2025/26 financial year, police say.

In the meantime, the Makhaza community is being policed by 24-hour patrols and policing services are offered from a mobile unit.

Traut said, “Once the parkhomes are erected, the services will be upgraded from a satellite to fully fledged station.”

This comes nearly nine years after the release of the report by the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into Policing in which one of the recommendations was that a new police station be built in Makhaza.

When we visited last week, contractors were busy working on the fenced off site. Several grey prefabricated units with blue roofs were already on the site and a small brick wall that had been erected by residents in protest in 2019 had been removed.

There have been several delays over the years at the site, the latest one according to ward councillor Lucky Mbiza, was a dispute between two contractors. Mbiza said the police station was meant to be ready by the end of November.

“Getting a police station is a dream come true,” he said. “This is something that this community has been waiting on for years. Ideally, we would like a permanent brick and mortar police station, but this temporary one will help us a lot.”

He said the mobile police station has limited services and because it is inside a shopping centre, residents often can’t access it when the mall’s gates are closed.

A woman who lives near the new police station site told GroundUp that it was exciting to finally see progress. She said that she hopes the police station will result in a reduction of crime in the area. “I have been robbed countless times in these streets, so to see that finally we will have a police station is exciting,” she said.

“I just hope that it will be up and running before the end of the year because we are in the festive season now and obviously there will be a lot of crimes. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there were more delays.”

The woman said most residents, who can afford to, take a taxi to Harare police station. “Sometimes we choose not to open cases because travelling to Harare is just too much,” said the resident.

Makhaza residents occupied the vacant site in 2019 and built this wall in a bid to get police to fast-track plans for the new police station on this site. Archive photo: Mary-Anne Gontsana


In 2004, an open field in Makhaza was first proposed as the site on which to build the Makhaza police station. During the Khayelitsha Commission of Enquiry in 2014, it came to light that the construction of a police station in Makhaza was the second highest in priority on the list of stations to be built in the Western Cape as far back as 2004, yet nothing had been done at that stage.

In 2016, the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) advanced their campaign with other activist groups, calling for the station, by holding a media conference on the proposed site. They also announced that they would be asking the Western Cape High Court to compel then Police Minister Nathi Nhleko and then acting national police commissioner Kgomotso Phahlane to find a way to allocate police resources in a more equitable manner.

At the time, former SJC general secretary Phumeza Mlungwana said Makhaza fell under the Harare precinct and had the least resources, even though it had the highest murder rate in Khayelitsha.

To mark five years since the Commission made its recommendations, the SJC together with Makhaza residents occupied the vacant site in 2019 and built a wall, using concrete bricks and cement, in the centre of the land. The wall was painted white with “Makhaza Police Station” written in black paint.

In 2021, the Makhaza community was finally allocated a mobile police station. But this did not sit well with some residents because it was stationed inside the Makhaza Shopping Centre.

Finally, this year in March, almost two decades later, in a small gathering at the open field, it was announced that the building of a satellite police station would commence and would be operational by October. But this date came and went due to a dispute between contractors.

The station is now expected to be up and running within the next few weeks.