Government officials ‘all talk and no action’

Ward councillor Gerry Gordon, Helen Zille, Dan Plato and Marita Petersen at the police base camp.

Angry residents booed Premier Helen Zille and Community Safety MEC Dan Plato when they visited gang war-ravaged Lavender Hill last week.

The residents told the politicians to stop feeding them lies and empty promises.

Ms Zille and Mr Plato visited the police base camp on the corner of Military Road and St Christopher Avenue on Thursday September 6.

The outpost is part of Operation Thunder and there are others bases in Uitsig, Philippi East, Ocean View and Tafelsig in Mitchell’s Plain – neighbourhoods also torn apart by bloody gang feuding.

With more than 250 Public Order Policing (POP) officers temporarily deployed at the base camps, police say the operation is about showing a 24/7 police presence in these neighbourhood war zones.

But this didn’t impress the residents who tackled Ms Zille and Mr Plato last week. They claimed the camp was ineffective, and said that according to their sums, about 70 people had been shot in the area over the past few months.

Communityworker,Aysha Davids, said people were dying every day.

“We are sick and tired of all the talking and meeting with no action. These politicians come here to lie to us and to ask for our vote, and we are used, but they don’t do anything.

“When they (politicians) come to the area, then several police vans and officers are deployed to protect them.

“Where are those officers when there is shootings in our areas? Who is protecting us? The police are not doing a very good job because there are daily shootings.”

Ms Davids said the base camp was not curbing gang violence.

“When people come to the base camp to report crime, they’re told that they were deployed to deal with land invasions. Even with them here the shootings continue. It is sickening,” she said.

Rieduwaan Abrahams said their pleas fell on deaf ears. “We are not animals, we are people. Enough is enough. We are tired of them running for our votes but not doing anything for our people.”

Ms Zille said the base camps in Ocean View and Uitsig had been embraced by the communities and were successful. She asked resident to work with police to achieve the same result at the Lavender Hill camp.

“It’s all about working together and cooperation. The community need to come forward with information to arrest the right people and confiscate the guns,” she said.

Deputyprovincialpolice commissioner,Major-General Mpumelelo Manci, said the stabilisation plan had had successes.

“Officers are able to immediately respond to shootings and contain the area. Shootings still take place, but there have been arrests, guns have been taken off the streets, and we are working hard to get convictions and sentencings.

“Wethereforeurgethe community to work with us to strengthen the plan,” he said.