Occupiers demand equal treatment

Occupiers at Ahmed Kathrada House in Green Point protested at Sea Point police station against what they called poor service delivery provided by the station.

Occupiers at Ahmed Kathrada House protested at Sea Point police station against what they called poor service delivery provided by the station.

The residents delivered a memorandum of demands to the station on Thursday July 11, calling for the safety of women and children and police visibility at Ahmed Kathrada House in Green Point.

Ahmed Kathrada House is one of the buildings occupied by the members of Reclaim the City, a movement campaigning for inclusive, decent, affordable housing.

The building used to house nurses who worked at the old Somerset Hospital but it was left empty and Reclaim the City members reclaimed it and renamed it Ahmed Kathrada House in April 2017.

Occupiers said electricity had been cut off in the building and they collect water from one tap and it is difficult at night.

“Criminals are exploiting the darkness to victimise us and when we ask SAPS to exercise their constitutional obligation on Section 25 of the South African Constitution, they turn us away by giving us senseless excuses that the building is dark, that we are unlawful occupiers and we are not their responsibility.

“This is not right and we hope that acting station commander Colonel Christo Engelbrecht will finally listen to us,” they said.

They said they want the police station to treat them in the same way they would treat their neighbours on the Atlantic Seaboard.

“We demand that the police provide updates on the murder cases that we have reported and have never been thoroughly investigated,” they said.

The murder cases are those
of activists and occupiers Zamuxolo Patrick “Rasta” Dolophini who was killed in March last year and house leader Ayanda Denge, who was fatally stabbed in March this year.

They said they’ve had numerous meetings with the Sea Point police station with regards to the safety of women and children at Ahmed Kathrada House and that the police committed to solving these matters.

“They also committed to include our representative on the Green Point Community Police Forum and establish a neighbourhood watch at Ahmed Kathrada House. We were promised police visibility, to patrol around the house and this has not materialised,” they said. “We are caretakers, domestic workers, nurses, petrol attendants, and cleaners. It is unsettling to see that we have been deprived of our basic right to safety,” they stated.

Following the protest, the activists said Colonel Engelbrecht committed to personally take on these murder cases and keep the residents updated as matters unfold.

They said he further committed to work hand in hand with the sector commander in preventing and protecting the residents of Ahmed Kathrada House. “He has committed to build a meaningful relationship with our leadership – by doing so he will treat our issues and frustrations with urgency,” they said.

Sea Point police spokesperson, Captain Elizabeth Munro, said patrols at Ahmed Kathrada House in Green Point are being done on a regular basis by the sector patrol vehicle.

On the issue of updates of murder cases, Captain Munro said: “The family of the deceased will be given feedback by the investigating officers.”