Picture above is the piece of land in question. It is on the corner of Prince George and Vrygrond avenues. Picture: Mwangi Githahu/Cape Argus
Picture above is the piece of land in question. It is on the corner of Prince George and Vrygrond avenues. Picture: Mwangi Githahu/Cape Argus

Time ticking for police to decide on a station for Vrygrond on City of Cape Town land

By Mwangi Githahu Time of article published Oct 19, 2021

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Cape Town - Time is running out for police management to take up an offer of a piece of prime, strategically placed land from the City on which to build a police station for the ever-expanding Vrygrond township on the Cape Flats.

The land was offered to the police over a decade ago. The Social Justice Network (SJN), which has been at the forefront of campaigning for the police to take up the offer of the land in Capricorn, on the corner of Prince George and Vrygrond avenues, wants instant action.

SJN secretary Lathif Gafoor said: “What we are asking for as the SJN is for the acquisition of the land. The land is available. SAPS needs to take the land. Once they have the land, then they can decide exactly when they will build a police station.

“We do understand that the government does not have money for building police stations and things like that at this point, but if they have the land they can use it for other purposes in the interim. As long as it's theirs.”

Gafoor said the people in Vrygrond need a police station nearby as they have trouble travelling all the way to Muizenberg to report cases.

The issue has become even more of a priority for the SJN since the plan to revamp the Muizenberg police station complex was deactivated in 2017.

Public Works and Infrastructure Department spokesperson Thamsanqa Mchunu revealed that the Muizenberg project, which was announced with fanfare in 2016, was dropped a year later.

“The police were meant to engage in their own internal processes with regards to the decisions of building of other police stations.

“It is the user departments that give procurement instructions, together with budgets, to the department to start the construction of any facility,” said Mchunu.

Asked about whether a police station was still a pressing issue for them, Western Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said the project is still in their sights as a priority, but she was unable to say just when there would be movement as far as building of a police station goes.

However, the SAPS may need to act fast as the land, which was offered by the City back in 2010, has caught the eye of an Early Childhood Development (ECD) centre which has approached the City about it.

City spokesperson Luthando Tyhalibongo said: “The City’s property management transversal real estate branch is assessing the viability of this suggestion for an ECD on the same spot.

“The property was identified many years ago for a police station, however, SAPS acquired land for that purpose in Mitchells Plain, less than 15km away.”

Meanwhile, Mayco member for spatial planning and environment Marian Nieuwoudt said the City currently has no applications submitted for the construction of a police station on the land.

“The zoning of the property is single residential, therefore any application to construct a police station will require an application for rezoning of the land, which will require public participation.”

Statistics on Vrygrond posted by local non-profit organisation Sozo Foundation show that despite being only 1.5km in size, it has an estimated 40 000 residents.

“It is known as one of the poorest townships in the Western Cape, with 77% of households having a monthly income of R3 200 or less.

“The community of Vrygrond is rife with gangsterism and crime, and young people are often exposed to substance, physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect,” the post read.

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Cape Argus

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