Metro Police pull back the curtains on illegal housing units in business blocks in Cape Town

Last night Action Society’s Ian Cameron and Kaylynn Palm, together with alderman JP Smith accompanied the Metro Police Gang and Drug Task team in the City of Cape Town on a ride-along in parts of Cape Town. Action Society would like to congratulate the task team for their outstanding efforts against crime.

The ride-along kicked off visiting drug houses in Elsies River where the K9-unit was deployed in some locations to support the operation. While on patrol, a private security company alerted the team about a man who had just stolen fuel and had driven off without paying. The vehicle was brought to a stop not too far from the police station, with the fuel hose dangling after it as it had been ripped off from the pump by the driver’s attempt not to pay. A case was opened at the local police station with charges for theft, malicious damage to property, possession of drugs and false number plates.

“While experiencing the impeccable manner in which these Metro Police Officers conduct their work, we are very concerned about the politicisation of crime fighting by the Minister of police, Bheki Cele and the way he talks down to these officers” said Ian Cameron, director of community safety at Action Society.

According to Cameron the newly established kidnapping and extortion task team in Cape Town, consisting of both SAPS and Metro Police members are a step in the right direction. “The point is, these metro police members don’t ask political questions when they wear a badge with the pride that they do. The focus on providing a professional police service with discipline and integrity,” he said.

The ride-along proceeded to Parow where the team visited a business block. From the road view the business premises looked normal, however at the back it was clear that the premises had been turned into an apartment block being occupied by people, many being foreign nationals. The building was previously home to Home Affairs Offices. Action Society’s Kaylynn Palm said it was shocking to see the inhumane conditions people live in. “People rent rooms for thousands of rands, where literally only a queen size bed and a small cupboard can fit in. Hard cardboard is used to separate the more than 50 rooms on a particular floor. There are no ventilation and people use a communal space to cook.”

“There’s a huge concern over safety, as well as drugs. But how exactly are officers supposed to do their job in such building with many passages and corners to store and hide drugs and other illegal things,” she said. Smith assured he will look into the matter, as the makeshift homes are illegal.

Action Society would also like to commend police members in SAPS uniforms that stick it out and often do so much with the limited resources. We hope that soon, SAPS will have the leadership and senior support that the Metro Police in Cape Town has. “Your steadfast endurance is praiseworthy and I honestly don’t always know how the good ones keep going. Thank you for hanging in there,” said Cameron.

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Action Society will protect and save all relevant personal information as described in the applicable legislation and shall only use such personal information for the purpose stated herein. With completing the above form you agree and confirm that Action Society may contact you in future. We thank you for your support.