Corrupt cops, the targeting of witnesses and informants, a lack of security cameras in Kalkfontein, and a “broken” Kuils River police detective branch.
Those were some of the frustrations concerned residents and crime fighters aired at a packed public meeting in Kalkfontein on Friday night September 17.
Kuils River police called the meeting following the discovery of the bodies of two men and a woman who were gunned down on Thursday morning September 16.
At the meeting, Kuils River station commander Colonel Jayseelan Naidoo said eight people had been shot dead in the area n the past seven days.
Prior to the meeting, sources told the Northern News that a gang fight over turf had begun to grip the tiny community.
Addressing some 300 people, Kalkfontein Community Police Forum chairman Clive Hendricks said: “We cannot rely on the police alone to resolve the mayhem that is taking place in our community. The expectation is not that the community has to go out and do the work of the police.”
A concerned parent said: “I want to ask the (colonel) one thing: as small as our community is, we have a very big police station, and our police arrest a lot of people, but the cases are thrown out of court.”
He said that raised questions about the standard of detective work at the police station.
“I work in the community. I don’t want to mention names, but the cases they present before the judges are thrown out one after the other just like that. The detective services is a very big problem. Sort that out,” he said.
Another resident accused the police of identifying informants to the gangsters.
Kalkfontein Community Development Forum chairman Johannes Pula said: “Why is there not a single security camera installed in Kraaifontein? Why are there not any bright lights in Kalkfontein? We only want cameras and lights. Things would be better.”
Responding to the cameras demand, Mr Hendricks said the CPF and police were busy with planning. He said Covid-19 had disrupted planning for cameras.
Colonel Naidoo said negative connotations attached to informing discouraged residents from talking to police. “Let’s get rid of that stuff. Your children are growing up in this area.”
He said a growing pattern in Kuils River, and in the Western Cape, was that teenagers were falling prey to gun violence.
“Where did we lose the plot? We in Kalkfontein are sitting in very abnormal circumstances and it cannot be business as usual. Let us start taking ownership of our space. Let us take care of the small, petty crimes.”
Referring to the eight gun killings in a week, Colonel Naidoo said: “Something has gone amiss. We need your input.”
Mr Hendricks said residents needed to stand together and bring information anonymously to police. He publicly gave out his cell number, encouraging them to send information about crime. He promised not to ask informants any questions and guaranteed them anonymity.
“We need to feed police with information of who the perpetrators are. The police cannot win the fight alone. It doesn’t matter how useless we think the police are. The CPF fights with the colonel (Naidoo) about a lot of things we’re not happy about with the police, but without the police we cannot function,” Mr Hendricks said.
“We know where the tik houses are, we know which houses house the criminals, which is where the guns are kept. We’re going to visit those houses.”
A terse verbal exchange erupted when a howling member of the crowd questioned Mr Hendricks’s request for residents to stop buying stolen items.
“We have no jobs. How else must we survive? You’re the wise guy, you tell us,” the man said.
Mr Hendricks replied: “But the hammer is stolen. If you buy the hammer, you’re enabling crime.”
Criminality started with small things, he said.
“The most important thing I want you to take home is to give police names. So many of us know who shot who. That’s the information we want,” he said.