Without police devolution, Khayelitsha’s murder plague will never end
The community of Khayelitsha is yet again in shock, after six people were gunned down in the Site C area.
In recent weeks there have been a number of multiple murders in the province’s largest township. It is the third mass shooting in Khayelitsha this year.
Just more than a month ago, Police Minister Bheki Cele and the Western Cape South African Police Services (SAPS) management flocked to Khayelitsha where they engaged with residents. It is here where he vowed to hunt down perpetrators of the five people who were killed in the Endlovini Informal Settlement, but the killings did not stop.
Action Society believes that the anti-gang unit needs to be brought back, which Cele has basically disbanded. While there is a dedicated team in the province, the reality is that in some communities there are not enough boots on the ground, and people still have to fear for their lives.
At the same time Action Society is calling on specialised units to be reinstated to deal with violent crime effectively. This includes murder and robbery units.
Khayelitsha is not the only area battling with gun violence – areas like Manenberg and Mitchell’s Plain have the same problem. While communities beg for more police visibility and cops in their neighbourhood, the number of officers are on the decline.
There are currently 804 fewer police officers situated at stations in the Western Cape than there were in 2017.
Action Society’s Kaylynn Palm says decentralising SAPS is the answer. “It is critical to restore accountability and to improve service delivery. It is not about politics; it is about the safety of civilians.
“If the devolution of SAPS does not happen, it simply means that policing will further deteriorate and we will be increasingly reliant not only on community safety structures, but also on provincial and local government law enforcement structures.”