“Why does it take a mass shooting for Ocean View to have an imbizo?”
This was one of the questions asked by an Ocean View resident at the community meeting held at the civic centre on Thursday May 11.
She was referring to a suspected gang-related shooting on Wednesday April 12, when six men were gunned down in a Neptune Lane house (“Shark Spotter man slain in Ocean View shooting,” Echo April 20).
Police arrested two men, aged 20 and 29, in connection with the shooting, one on Monday April 17 and the second on Tuesday April 18.
However, both suspects were released on Wednesday April 19 after their case was struck off the roll at the Simon’s Town Magistrate’s Court because they claimed they had been detained for more than 48 hours before appearing in court.
According to the Criminal Procedure Act, a suspect cannot be detained for longer than 48 hours without appearing in court.
In an earlier enquiry by the Echo to provincial police, Colonel André Traut said the case and the time of the suspects’ appearance “is a subject of an internal investigation which is still under way”.
While many residents made reference to the mass shooting in their questions, no questions were asked about the release of the suspects, how it happened, or what went wrong.
Instead, residents complained about the 17 vacancies at the station and there only being one police van available for patrolling.
“Twenty years ago, one van was enough but the community has since grown and one van is not enough,” one resident said.
Another resident complained about spinning (a motorsport similar to drifting) in front of the library for the past two years.
“It is dangerous and illegal and no one is doing anything about it. Some of the old people in the flats suffer from asthma and the smoke from the tyres makes them cough. One had to be taken to hospital due to this,” she said.
Another complained about police officers being insensitive and unprofessional at crime scenes.
“They come into your house and treat you like you are a criminal,” one said.
In response to some of the questions, deputy provincial commissioner for visible policing Major General Mpumelelo Manci said the vacancies at the station had been “submitted to national” and the posts would be filled in “a reasonable time”.
He called on Ocean View acting station commander Captain Nick Spreeth to explain why the station only had one van as he said there should be more as the station had received two new vehicles the previous week during a police vehicle handover in Mitchell’s Plain where 251 vehicles were distributed to various police stations.
Captain Spreeth said that the station currently had 10 vehicles including the two new ones. There were enough vehicles, he said, but not always enough staff to drive them.
One vehicle was being used as a mobile contact point in Masiphumelele and one was used by the station commander which left eight for visible policing.
In response to the spinning complaint, Major General Manci confirmed that it was an illegal activity.
However, ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock said he was looking for a “legal venue” for spinning as here was a need in the community for “such an outlet.”
“What they are doing is wrong, and I don’t support it, but if we can have some control over it, we can manage it,” he said.