Kraaifontein crime, gangs make life hard for City staff

A pre-cast concrete wall has been built around the Swelleni Street pump station, in Wallacedene, after an arson attack there earlier this month.

Gang violence and other crimes are taking their toll on municipal staff, services and infrastructure in Kraaifontein.

Four cleaners were attacked and robbed of their brooms and spades by four men while working in the vicinity of the Swelleni Street pump station, in Wallacedene, on Monday March 28, according to a report tabled at the Bergdal Sub-council meeting on Wednesday April 20.

The same pump station was later torched in an arson attack, in which water pipes were stolen, on Saturday May 7.

A pre-cast concrete wall has now been built around the facility.

Crimes affecting City staff and contractors have risen in the past month, according to mayoral committee member for water Dr Zahid Badroodien.

Police were investigating the arson attack at the pump station and City law enforcement officers and private security guards were doing regular patrols there, he said.

The April 20 report also refers to an incident in Scottsdene where a man with a gun fired several shots within five metres of where a municipal employee was working.

“(The shooter) even ran in the same direction as he did, while he was trying to get away, putting him in direct danger of crossfire,” the report says, adding: “There has been three shootings since the last week and each shooting incident draws closer to the team on site (sic).”

Dr Badroodien said the incident had happened at a site in Scottsdene where workers had been replacing pipes.

“Unfortunately, Scottsdene is an area with high gang activity and violence. In order to mitigate the risk to the staff on site, local labour from the community have been appointed and local security in the area has also been appointed as they know the area very well to keep the staff on site as safe as possible.”

The shooting had been gang-related and had not targeted the contractor and workers on the site, he said.

“Due to this incident, the contractor was instructed to immediately leave site, and an emergency meeting was set up with the relevant stakeholders (councillor, City of Cape Town project manager, contractor, occupational health and safety consultant and local security),” Dr Badroodien said.

The occupational health and safety plan was reviewed to ensure that staff felt safe.

“But it must be noted that safety cannot be guaranteed in Scottsdene. After a week, the contractor was allowed to go back to site when it was agreed by the relevant parties that the area was safe again.”

There had been similar incidents on sites in Kraaifontein in the last month, “but we are handling it as it comes”, he said.

“It is very stressful on site, but teams are always on high alert because anything can happen at any moment. But the team is dedicated to completing the project to the best of our abilities.”

Northern News recently reported on another report, “Pump Station Service Delivery: Kraaifontein – Wallacedene and Bloekombos”, which said a security company stationed a guard at the pump station, in 2021, but the guard had fled when land invaders built a new informal settlement there.

The City previously said illegal connections to the transformer on Swellini Street had damaged the facility in May 2021.