Bo-Kaap residents demand action for the Kraal

Picture: David Ritchie

Bo-Kaap residents say the situation near the area known as the Kraal, has become urgent after three tourists were reportedly mugged there on Monday.

This is just one of a number of recent incidents reported by community members in WhatsApp and Facebook groups.

Osman Shaboodien, the chairperson of the Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association, said the situation in the area was damaging to the tourism industry and called for more visible policing in the area.

“I don’t know why the situation is left as it is. There have been many complaints from residents. Residents are up in arms on the issue,” said Mr Shaboodien.

He said the main concern was that a security camera, which had been installed as recently as two years ago, appeared to have had little to no effect.

“There has to be questions as to why the area has been left lawless like it is. There have been many engagements between police and businesses. There are only so many engagements that can be done without patrols.

“The neighbourhood watch cannot be there twenty-four seven.”

Mr Shaboodien called on the Metro police, police and community role-players to better co-ordinate patrols in the area.

“It is already having a negative effect on tourism,” he added. He also called on tourism operators to inform tourists coming into the area not to walk around with their valuables, such as cameras and cellphones, visible.

However, police say, that while the area is a concern, the crime situation is under control thanks to engagement with the community and businesses in the area.

Captain Ezra October, spokesperson for the Cape Town Central police station, said that meetings had been held to discuss security guards, improved street lighting and cameras in the street.

“Yes, the Kraal area is a concern but due to co-operation of the community, security role-players and the police, they have managed to take control of the area. Police will continue to conduct intelligence operations,” he noted.

The area’s ward councillor, Brandon Golding, said City officials had had a meeting on Tuesday May 9 to discuss issues relating to the Kraal area.

He said that he had received a number of complaints and queries on the matter from the Bo-Kaap civic and members of tourism, hospitality and business communities. Based on this, working groups had been set up with community members, Economic Opportunities and Community Safety MECs Alan Winde and Dan Plato and representatives of their departments, Cape Town and Green Point Improvement districts, City enforcement agencies and representatives of the South African Police Services.

“We are also investigating the possibility of including the Rose Street precinct within the Green Point CID operating area.

“There are ongoing law enforcement operations in the area to clear illegal structures which have been erected.

“The City’s solid waste department also does regular cleaning of the Wash House Quarry and Strand Street Quarry sites. SAPS have focused operations in the area and will continue to do so.”

Mr Golding added: “The Strand Street Quarry site is currently the subject of lease negotiation after a public request for proposal process which was completed last year. We hope that this lease agreement will be concluded expeditiously.

“We hope to secure the Wash House Quarry but this is currently subject to negotiation and legal process. We are engaging with the community of Bo-Kaap to determine what the best and most desired use for the site would be going forward. The sites both have substantial heritage significance and the City will not proceed with any utilisation without full community consultation. Tourism and the related revenue has the potential to further economically empower the community of Bo-Kaap and sustain and protect the heritage asset, both physical and cultural. It is therefore important that we strive to ensure the safety of these guests to our city.”