Crime takes top spot

Participants of the walkabout.

Dan Plato and Alan Winde – one waiting to take over the running of the city, the other the province – faced calls in Scottsville last week for more action against crime in the area.

Mr Plato, the Community Safety MEC, has been appointed to take over from mayor Patricia de Lille when she leaves office at the end of the month.

Mr Winde, the Economic Opportunities MEC, is the DA’s candidate to take over from Premier Helen Zille, should the party hold on to the Western Cape in the 2019 general elections.

The two men heard from residents as they went door-to-door during a walkabout last Friday.

Many residents put crime at the top of their lists of grievances when Mr Plato and Mr Winde asked them about what problems they faced in the area and how they thought they could be solved.

The residents also complained that too little was being done to create jobs, ward councillors were unhelpful, and the municipality failed to keep the neighbourhood’s parks clean.

When Mr Winde asked what the community’s biggest problem was, Jacqueline Smith said, “Crime is the main concern in this community; it has a bad effect on our children, and all of us living here. We need more support from SAPS and people in high places, like you, to help us.”

Humphrey Sacco, who has lived in the area for more than 20 years, said Scottsville had become one of the worst communities because of crime.

“First of all, I wish that a change could be made to the crime in this community. Why has dagga been legalised?

“That is a gateway drug. Proper decisions need to be made to assist our communities, and long-term thinking needs to take place. Our kids are growing up in a cruel world,” said Mr Saco.

Some residents joined the walkabout that included councillors Grant Twigg and Siseko Mbandezi.

Everyone met at Elroy Williams’s home in Carnation Street, where Mr Williams accused councillors of having “no service-delivery etiquette” and said complaints from residents continued to fall on deaf ears.

“Despite the crime that affects our community, we have other problems such as blocked drains and open fields that get no attention.

“The grass is long and people use it it for a local dump,” he said.

Mr Winde looked at Mr Twigg, asking if he had an answer for Mr Williams.

Mr Twigg said: “I would not say it is poor service delivery or that the issues fall on deaf ears. The pipes are old, and I think having them fixed will cost a lot of money. We need to get budget to have all of the pipes replaced.”

Mr Plato said it was clear that crime was a big worry in the community, and he believed the answer was to “stop the talking” and find the guns and those using them.

“We have military intelligence, we have police intelligence, but none of them can figure out where the guns are coming from,” he said.

According to the latest police crime stats, released last month,

this is the second year in a row that Kraaifontein police precinct is listed among the country’s top-30 police stations for serious reported crimes.

It’s the station with the seventh highest number of murders, and it came 17th for the highest number of violent crimes.