More cops for Masiphumelele

Masiphumelele will be getting more cops after a week of violence. Photo by Masixole Feni.

Pasqua Heard

18 September 2015

Seven new constables will be joining Ocean View police station, which serves Ocean View, Kommetjie and Masiphumelele. This news follows a week of violence in Masiphumelele, and months of community dissatisfaction with insufficient policing in the township.

Earlier this week GroundUp reported that a man was killed in a mob justice incident in Masiphumelele on Tuesday night. He allegedly raped a 24-year-old woman on Tuesday.

A 34-year-old man who allegedly also took part in the rape appeared in the Cape Town Magistrates’ Court this morning. Captain Angie Latchman, spokesperson for the South African Police Service (SAPS), said that detectives who had been “working around the clock” made a breakthrough and arrested the Khayelitsha resident yesterday at Caledon Square Police Station in the CBD on suspicion of the Masiphumelele rape. The man had been detained at Caledon Square since Wednesday 16 September for allegedly being in possession of stolen goods.

Residents of Masiphumelele expressed their anger and disgust with the man on the community’s public Facebook group titled ‘Masiphumelele’. The man’s name is mentioned on the Facebook page.

Apart from the rape of the 24-year-old woman and the consequent mob justice incident, a fourteen year old boy was murdered in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Residents have for months been demanding extra policing in the area, which they say is neglected by SAPS.

In order to improve service delivery to the areas of Ocean View, Kommetjie and Masiphumelele, Captain Latchman confirmed that seven student constables will join the force on Monday 21 September, a month after newly instated Lieutenant Masiza Ponco said that nine police officers were meant to join the station. Latchman said that another two constables will commence in January 2016.

Latchman also confirmed that SAPS Ocean View recently advertised for five entry level constable posts and the selection process is “currently underway”. She said, “The successful candidates will then undergo compulsory training for a period of ten months at a designated Police College. The new personnel will definitely bolster manpower in Ocean View which will have a positive impact in the fight against crime.”

Felicity Purchase, the ward councillor serving Masiphumelele, expressed gratitude for the additional constables to SAPS Ocean View. However, she stated that “it is not enough”.

“It is progress, however, we must bear in mind that these will be constables who have no experience and little idea of the area, so they won’t be able to be deployed on their own. They would need to have an experienced officer with them in the beginning. On the ground experience is needed and this will only come with time,” said Purchase.

Purchase was also able to confirm that SAPS have acknowledged the need for a satellite police station in Masiphumelele. “We [the council] would like to facilitate the process of setting up a satellite police station in Masiphumelele,” she said.