Police have been cracking down on gangs in Ocean View, making scores of arrests, and seizing guns, ammunition and drugs, the precinct’s police chief told a meeting attended by Premier Helen Zille on Tuesday night.
Ocean View SAPS station commander, Lieutenant Colonel Buzwayo, said police had, in just over a month, arrested 180 suspects, confiscated 10 guns and 84 rounds of ammunition.
The crackdown follows a peaceful protest on Sunday July 8 when Ocean View residents ,fed up with bloody gang feuding, demanded better policing in the neighbourhood.
The memorandum they gave to Lieutenant Colonle Buzwayo called for CCTV cameras, visible policing, better lighting in dark areas, more resources from national government and a curfew from 9.30pm to 3am, (“Mothers bury their sons,” Echo July 12).
While there was no talk, during the meeting at the Ocean View civic centre, of introducing the curfew called for in the memorandum, the search and seizure operations described by Lieutenant Colonel Buzwayo suggested police had upped their game in the community. And the 100-odd people at the meeting gave him a standing ovation.
Lieutenant Colonel Buzwayo said Ocean View officers, despite being short of eight members and two vehicles, had seized drugs, including tik and mandrax, in searches at more than 60 suspected drug dens, along with more than 1 200 litres of alcohol.
Violent crime – murder, attempted murder and assault- was the biggest problem in Ocean View, he said, and Milky Way and Aries Avenue were hot spots.
He thanked residents who had given the police tip-offs and said police planned to deploy more Crime Prevention Unit (CPU) officers, based on crime intelligence, to “outsmart” criminals.
There would be more joint operations with law enforcement and other units and hot spots would be cordoned off and searched. He said there had been several successful convictions in recent months, including the 30 year jail term for Yagyah Robain, who raped and murdered his 14-year-old cousin, Cameron Britz. “We want to be criticised so we can improve,” he said.
At an earlier meeting, mayoral committee member for safety, security and social services, JP Smith said R1 million – savings from another project – would be used for CCTV cameras in Ocean View.
Metro police director, Barry Schuller, assured the community – after being pushed for an answer – that some cameras would be working by the November deadline given in the protest memorandum.
Ward councillor Simon Liell-Cock said the City’s street lighting department was fixing broken street lights.
Community Police Forum chairwoman, Kathy Cronje, said that following meetings with Ocean View residents the CPF sector safety plan for Sector 1 had been compiled and would seek solutions to problems raised by the memorandum.
The Department of Community Safety had accredited four neighbourhood watches for Ocean View, she said.