Make Ocean View streets safe

Johann Kikillus, director Soteria Ministries, Ocean View

This past week the staff, children and parents of Ocean View Care Centre were traumatised when someone known to us was brutally murdered.

Tragically, a few days later, another young man was shot dead as well. The negative effect that this will have on the community will be with us for a very long time. I have lost count of the number of affected families I have dealt with over the past 12 years whose loved ones have lost their lives to this senseless violence.

At the same time, people are being robbed in parks, in front of schools and on the way to the bus stops. Elderly people have told me they are too scared to go and draw out their pension.

For 12 years, I have asked for more visible police and a permanent law enforcement presence, at least outside public buildings so that the elderly, children and mothers can safely go to school and the clinic. It would appear that there are no resources available.

So I want to propose that the many NPOs, religious groups, civil groups and many political parties have a meeting to discuss how we can make the streets safe again. It would be great if the City of Cape Town and SAPS could please reply to this letter to inform us of what new plans are in place to address the ongoing gang violence.

Lastly, as I have done every year, I wish to invite the perpetrators of this violence to come forward and meet with me to discuss how they can turn their lives around. In the past ten years, a few have done so. Many of the others are buried, which is a reminder that there is seldom a positive outcome to a life of crime. Ultimately, only God can restore a broken community, but it requires people to step forward.”

• The City of Cape Town responds: The City attempts as far as possible to ensure that the law enforcement agencies that report to it are visible on the ground. In the last two-and-a-half years, progress has been made through the introduction of the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP), but we recognise that there remains a great need in many of our communities.

It is important to state once more that SAPS is the primary agency tasked with crime prevention. The City acts in support of SAPS, and while increased resourcing remains a priority for this administration, it is imperative that SAPS too invests in more resources to assist violence-wracked communities.

The Western Cape saw a 511 net decline in SAPS personnel between 2018 and 2021. This decline needs to be urgently addressed if we are to make a serious dent in the crime rate in the many communities that need it. Furthermore, we need a renewed sense of vigour from the criminal justice system to effectively investigate crimes, expedite court cases and ensure appropriate convictions.

• Ocean View police spokesman Sergeant Mfundo Nyengane did not respond to several requests for comment by time of publication.