Rundown loo earmarked for safety hub

Pastor Philip Frans with rubbish strewn on the floor of the toilet block.

A community leader is putting pressure on the City of Cape Town to speed up plans to turn a filthy Hangberg taxi rank toilet block into a satellite police station.

The block is structurally sound but has stood empty for eight years. Rubbish is strewn about inside and the windows are gone.

Pastor Philip Frans, of the Hangberg Neighbourhood Watch, said he and other members of the Hangberg Community Police Sub-forum had shown the block in June last year to JP Smith, the mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services.

“We explained that the block could be used as a base for the neighbourhood watch, while police could use the building to open cases. It would mean that when a crime was committed, the Hangberg community would not have to travel to the Hout Bay police station to open cases.”

The City, he said, had agreed to use the block as a law enforcement base following a series of meetings last year, and in March it had said the transfer was still being processed but had not said when it would be completed.

“We are now appealing to the City to fast-track this process, because recently there have been a lot of muggings, particularly at the MyCiTi bus stop. Domestic workers employed in the Heights are being targeted as they arrive for work in the morning,” said Mr Frans.

“If this place is available, we can have a 24/7 crime-prevention team in place.

What we don’t understand is why money has been spent on securing an empty building.”

He said the City would also no longer need to pay security guards to watch the sport and recreation centre next to the rank if it was turned into a police station.

Hout Bay ward councillor Roberto Quintas said the City still backed the project and he was willing to spend some of his ward allocation on it.

“The safety and security directorate is also willing to fund part of the project.”

However, he said, the building belonged to another City department which still had to give its permission.

“This has been explained to Pastor Frans,” Mr Quintas said.