On Friday I visited small business owners in Kempton Park who are being affected by the increase of crime and prostitution in the area.
Ms Amanda Williams, owner of El-Shaddai Vetkoek Kombuis in Kempton Park is having to down scale her operations and Mr Awie Williams is struggling to keep the doors of his business Executive Lawnmowers open.
Mrs Carolyn Hurly, owner of Swim-Tech Swim School has had inquiries from clients regarding the amount of scantily clad women walking up and down the street. This could drive potential clients away.
This is disappointing as the DA presented a memorandum to the Kempton Park SAPS calling for more visible policing 3 months ago. Kempton Park SAPS accepted our memorandum and pledged their support to making the community safe. However, when I recently met with Kempton Park SAPS Station Commander Brig Bertha Kgoroba, she did not have the memorandum and asked me for a copy. Even worse is that during my meeting with Head of Tembisa Cluster SAPS Major General Sithole about the increase in drug-related crime and prostitution in the area, he was not even aware of our memorandum.
It is unacceptable that three months later the Kempton Park SAPS has failed to adhere to their responsibility. They are failing the community of Kempton Park and small business owners in the community.
“I took over the business in February 2010 and in the beginning people would queue down the street to buy from us. Now, if we have 50 clients a day that is a lot. I have asked clients why they do not come regularly anymore and they told me it is because of the prostitutes and drug-dealers who approaches them in the street outside my restaurant. I am considering closing my restaurant because nothing is being done by the police.”
Ms Hurly says: “We started the swim school from scratch in 2006. Recently four of our security cameras were stolen and we spent about R50 000 on security upgrades last year due to the amount of drug-dealers and prostitutes just down the street. I have two teenage sons who I do not want to get involved in the easy accessible drug-dealing in the area and I cannot move my school because I have two heated pools. It is our property values and businesses at stake and many of us cannot simply start over somewhere else.”
“My business is now being vandalised by these criminals because we chase them away. Recently the windows of my business were broken and I do not feel it helps to contact the police because they do not do anything. I have asked some of the police officers who come to El-Shaddai Vetkoek Kombuis next to my business why they do not do something about these known drug dens and prostitutes and they simply said they are scared of them” says Mr Williams.
In the current economic climate, small businesses can only flourish if they operate in a safe environment. To make this a reality, specialised units must be reinstated, all SAPS members must be equipped with the tools they need to do their job and communities must be more involved in the fight against crime.
Therefore the DA is in the process of working on a crime-fighting initiative with Head of Tembisa Cluster SAPS Major General Sithole. We will also work closely with the local neighbourhood watches and community policing forum to keep Kempton Park residents safe and the doors open of small businesses such as Ell-Shaddai Vetkoek Kombuis.
Ward 16 Councillor
083 413 2429