Residents march over policing in Marikana Informal settlement

Protestors infront of Civic Centre in Cape Town. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare

Following the senseless murder of 11 people last weekend, the residents of Marikana informal settlement with the Social Justice Coalition marched in Cape Town and handed memorandums to the City of Cape Town, SAPS, IPID, the Department of Community Safety and the Police Ombudsman, demanding better policing and services to the area.

Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

Hundreds of Marikana informal settlement residents gathered at the Civic Centre on Thursday and marched to the Western Cape Provincial SAPS office to hand over a memorandum of demands.

The march was organised by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) and Marikana residents.

They demanded that:

  • A meeting that includes representatives from SAPS, IPID, the City of Cape Town Department of Community Safety and Western Cape Police Ombudsman should be convened on the 9th of October.
  • City of Cape Town should install street lights in Marikana informal settlement.
  • City of Cape Town should withdraw its notice of appeal to the ruling on the Marikana land issue from the Western Cape High Court on 30 August 2017.

The residents also want the irrational and discriminatory system of resource allocation applied by SAPS to be revised. They also want the police to immediately implement Recommendation 6 of the Khayelitsha Commission of inquiry which states that the Provincial Commissioner of Police should issue guidelines for policing in informal settlements.

The High Court ordered the City to negotiate with the landowners to purchase the land and that the people who stay in Marikana cannot be evicted.

But in an email response, Brett Herron, the Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, says they have filed an application for leave to appeal against the Western Cape High Court judgment of Judge Fortuin at the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA).

“It is shocking to see all levels of government responding to the Marikana informal settlement crime rate after 11 people lost their lives. The SAPS Western Cape, City of Cape Town, the Independent Police Directorate (IPID and residents of Marikana should work together to clean the area of criminal activities,” says Axolile Notywala from SJC.

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The memorandum was handed over and signed by Roger Solomons from the Mayor’s Office, Fred Watkins from the City’s Community Safety Department, Deidre Foster from the Western Cape Police Ombudsman and Western Cape Deputy Provincial Commissioner, Major General Mpumelelo Manci.

Elitsha spoke to some Marikana residents who testified that the informal settlement is now very unsafe unless government takes immediate steps to rid the area of criminal elements.

Sandile Ntlethi who has stayed in the area for four years says, “I have no option but to let my child drop [out of]school. It’s very unsafe to let the children walk around. He will go back to school next year in Nyanga.”

His child used to go to a school in Crossroads next to Marikana.

His one- and seven-year-old children are no longer staying in Marikana. His mother in-law in Nyanga is taking care of them.

Ntlethi says that it’s such a disturbing situation, he finds himself unable to think about anything else, even when at work.

“I work as a security at a certain company but when I am at work, most of the time I focus on home, [worrying] for the safety of my wife.”

Another resident who identified herself as Imivo, previously residing in Capricorn, says, “I only decided to move to Marikana informal settlement after I was very much abused by my ex-husband. He was alcoholic. By the time I moved in, 2014, the crime rate was very low. Now it has gone to an unbearable level.”

Imivo has since stopped going to work because she always falls prey to robbers.

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“I have since stopped going to work for safety reasons. I am robbed most of the days as I go to work in the morning. Some time they pointed a gun at me demanding a smart phone [that] I did not have. I reported the case to the police but ‘what the hell’ [was the] response I got from the police. They tell me take a photo of the robber and bring it to police. I cannot believe this,” she says

Madiekeletso Dikubo who has stayed in the informal settlement for four years says, “It is very difficult for me now staying in Marikana informal settlement. The school bus is no longer coming to our area. They area is unsafe. I have to carry my 12-year-old disabled child every day to a pick-up point a couple of kilometres away. In the afternoon I also do the same thing. The school bus has since stopped coming into our area,” said Dikubo.

Protestors highlighting the fact that many people have died in Marikana due to poor policing. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare

After receiving the memorandum the Deputy Provincial Commissioner said, “We as SAPS are trying to make that area safe to live. As I am speaking, two arrests in connection with the recent mass shooting have been made. 207 police officers have been deployed in the area. We are going to get an additional 120 officers from the national government and in December we will be getting 40.”

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About Bernard Chiguvare 30 Articles
Originally from Zimbabwe and since 2014 I been contributing to different publications in South Africa. My area of focus as a reporter is on the rights of vulnerable communities and foreign nationals in any country.