Martedì, 23 Febbraio 2016 10:09 | Diepsloot finally gets a police station

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Benita Enoch, GroundUp

Johannesburg – Eight years after talks began for Diepslootto have its own police station, the day arrived on Friday.

The police station was built in response to the community'scall

for better service delivery. Diepsloot residents complained that the areawas serviced by the Erasmia police station in Pretoria, 45km away.

They said the metro police department and fire station,which had only been built in 2007, were not sufficiently equipped to deal withsafety and crime issues. In 2009, Diepsloot was hit by widespread servicedelivery protests, labour strikes, and xenophobia.

In response, the Department of Public Works said it wouldembark on an "era of renewal" in which the biggest police station, interms of rand value, would be built in Diepsloot West.

Court battle to blame for delays

At the time, then National Deputy Public Works MinisterHendrietta Bogopane-Zulu said an emerging contractor would undertake theconstruction. However, soon after ground was broken in 2010, building came to ahalt over a legal battle with the construction company.

"The new police station will bring permanent policingservices to… Diepsloot, and will ensure that an effective frontline service isrendered to all members of the community in need of police services," theSouth African Police Service said in a statement on Friday.

The project, which was estimated to cost R59 million in2007, was only half completed by October 2013. By the time it opened Friday,the cost had escalated to R105 million. In December last year, Public WorksMinister Thulas Nxesi blamed the delay on the court battle.

Diepsloot is a largely informal area. According to the 2011census it had a population of just under 240 000 people and a large immigrantcommunity.

Service delivery to the area is poor. It is common to findsewage in the streets, blocked public toilets, and untarred roads.

The new police station, however, hopes to address some ofthe social issues the township faces. Examination rooms and victim supportfacilities, together with a well-outfitted crime reporting area and detectivewing promises to support residents' needs.

More crimes solved

With a consignment of new patrol cars and staff, residentsexpect that more rapes, robberies and murders will be solved.

In Diepsloot Extension 11, where GroundUp visited after theopening ceremony, people complained of dark alleys where opportunists attackwomen and children.

The victims are either girls walking to school or womengoing to work. It's easy for the perpetrators to make a getaway in the maze ofalleys between the shacks.

There are numerous unlicensed taverns in an environment withhigh alcohol dependency.

Various drugs can easily be bought in Diepsloot Extension13.

Nevertheless, there are feeding schemes, crèches, andorphanages throughout the 12 square kilometre area, as well as vegetablepatches and curbside salons.

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