Grassy Park SAPS slammed

Residents marched through the streets of Parkwood.

Parkwood residents have demanded better service delivery from Grassy Park police station and have signed a memorandum and petition for a vote of no confidence in the station management.

This follows a peace march on Sunday September 22 attended by Mayor Dan Plato, police and leaders from various organisations and religious groups. Those at the march walked through the streets to pray and show their opposition to prevailing crime, gangsterism and violence in Parkwood.

Paul Phillips from Voice of Parkwood said the gathering was an opportunity for residents to voice their concerns. “We need to get rid of all the rotten apples at Grassy Park police station and get better services. There’s so much corruption at the station and it needs to be addressed.

“We also have no confidence in the station. Residents are taking the law into their own hands because they don’t trust the police to do their jobs,” he said.

He was referring to a case where an alleged rapist was stoned by angry residents on Tuesday September 10 (see page 7).

“We will take over all the City-owned drug houses and turn them into safe houses. We will revamp it for the benefit of the community instead of it being used for crime,” said Mr Phillips.

Mr Plato said the community needs to stand together. “I see division in Parkwood. A divided community is what the gangsters and drug lords want because if you are divided you are not strong enough to take the necessary action.

“Many of our community members support the drug lords and gang bosses. That is a problem and we need to face the reality. Our young people are being wiped
out and we need to stand together and take hands, and work as a collective to address it. The police can’t do it on their own,” said Mr Plato.

A People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (PAGAD) G-Force representative, who did not want to be named, said the time had come to take back communities.

“The time has come for us to take the bull by the horns and we will march to those houses where the gangsters and drug bosses are housed. We must not make them famous and praise them.

The time has come for us to march to those houses and show them we don’t want this crime in our communities. We must stop them together with law enforcement agencies and tell them
this community won’t tolerate it anymore. And if they don’t stop then we will make them stop,” he said.

William Akim, councillor for Ward 66 (Parkwood, parts of Ottery, parts of Grassy Park and parts of Lotus River), said discipline starts at home. “Why must people be mugged every morning? Why are people hiding the gangsters and criminals?

“The only way to overcome it is to stand together and to make affidavits and cases against criminals,” he said.

Station commander Colonel Dawood Laing, who is on a course and is only officially back at the station next month, was at the gathering and said there were a
many allegations against them but in the past three months there
had been seven gun attacks on police.

“When my members want to arrest suspects in the community of Parkwood, then they are thrown with stones but they say we don’t render a service. How can we be stoned and shot at if we’re not in the community?”

Addressing the corruption allegations, Colonel Laing said there were rotten apples. “I don’t
argue that there are. Don’t say the station is corrupt. It’s not the police station, it’s individuals. If you see corruption then make a statement. We have made statements against our own mem-
bers.

“I am not afraid to act against any corruption and I implore people to put allegations in our suggestion box at the station and I will address it myself within seven days,” he said.

He also asked the community to let the police do their work and not to support gangsters and drug dealers.

He also urged residents not to take the law into their own hands. “Let us unite for a better Parkwood,” he said.