Vandalised memorials, parolees and hiking trail robberies top CPF agenda

Plates at the Cenotaph War Memorial have been stolen.

Robberies and car break-ins on Signal Hill, theft of memorial plates in the city and concerns about the release of parolees topped the agenda at the Cape Town Central community police forum (CPF) meeting last Thursday, September 6.

The CPF meets on the first Thursday of every month at Cape Town Central police station in Buitenkant Street.

Ward councillor Ian MacMahon expressed his concern about the plates on memorials in the city CBD as five had been stolen in the past three weeks.

Mr MacMohan said memorial plates were stolen off monuments including the Bartholomew Diaz Monument and the WWII Cenotaph in the Heerengracht; and the Arch for the Arch monument at the Company’s Garden. An attempt was also made to steal fencing at the garden.

There were attempts to steal fencing at the Company’s Garden.

The brass name plates from the Netherlands consulate office walls were stolen; there was an attempt to remove the brass door from the FNB building; and a statue at the Artscape was vandalised.

It was believed that the plates were being stolen to use as scrap metal.

One of the plates was recovered at Mascani informal settlement in Railway Road, Woodstock. Woodstock police station commander, Colonel Delvyn Matroos said the plate was found abandoned and handed over to the City of Cape Town.

Law Enforcement agencies present at the meeting flagged the issue for its Metal Theft Unit, while police urged the City of Cape Town to report the matter so that an investigation can happen.

There was an attempt to remove the brass door at the FNB building.

The Central City Improvement District (CCID) was not available for comment at the time of publication.

Meanwhile, police reported that robberies and theft out of motor vehicles are still the priority crimes in the precinct.

Signal Hill has also become a hotspot for robberies, and police reported that they are conducting operations to apprehend a man suspected of being responsible for robberies on the hiking trail.

Colonel Andre Coetzee said the police were visible there and are gathering information, as well as strategising.

Another concern raised was the release of non-violent offenders last month. President Cyril Ramaphosa on Friday August 11 announced a remission for non-violent offenders in South African prisons to alleviate chronic overcrowding and improve prison conditions.

District Six neighbourhood watch member Igsaan Alexander said there were concerns about increased attempts to put up shacks on the vacant fields of District Six, while Gardens resident Anthony Rees said the area under the Mill Street bridge was also being occupied by parolees.

Mr Alexander said the dumping and illegal immigrants, as well as criminal elements living in the fields were a concern, as school pupils use the route.

In response, Colonel Coetzee said the parolees, whose names appear on a list that police have, were visited often to assist the Department of Correctional Services. He said some were arrested again for violating their parole limitations.

He said the police had requested an updated list from the Department of Correctional Services, and will visit the hotspots mentioned by the community.