Mbeki rolls CCTV cameras in Khayelitsha

30th August 2003

The fight against crime in Khayelitsha, one of South Africa's most crime-ridden suburbs, received a welcome boost yesterday with the unveiling of three new closed circuit TV cameras.

President Thabo Mbeki welcomed the initiative as he pressed the switch, at the SA Police Service's 24-hour monitoring centre in Goodwood, to mark the first phase of the project.

Another 33 cameras are expected to be in operation in Khayelitsha and neighbouring Mitchell's Plain by the end of October.

The two sprawling Cape Town suburbs, which together are home to more than one million people, will share the cameras equally, although plans are in place for more units in the future.

The president switched on the cameras at the start of a three-day "imbizo" visit to the Western Cape.

He was joined by Western Cape Premier Marthinus van Schalkwyk, finance MEC Ebrahim Rasool, safety and security MEC Leonard Ramatlakane and Cape Town Mayor Nomaindia Mfeketo.

Ramatlakane said the cameras represented a milestone in the fight against crime in the province.

"The actions to remove Khayelitsha as the number one hotspot for serious crime has begun... we want to ensure that Khayelitsha and Mitchell's Plain are the exception (regarding crime-levels) rather than the rule," he said.

The Goodwood centre is one of two CCTV monitoring units in the city - the other situated in the CBD - and includes 25 staff and 60 TV monitors.

The centre also keeps an eye on areas in Bellville, Goodwood, Athlone, Manenburg, Guguletu, Bonteheuwel and on the N2 freeway.

Earlier, Mbeki paid a visit to the Clothing, Textiles, Footwear, and Leather sector education and training authority (Seta) in Maitland, where he took questions from trainees.

He was quizzed on various issues, including stubbornly high food prices and unemployment.

Mbeki said food prices should begin to fall as a number of African countries moved away from the severe shortages experienced over the past few years.

The number of people in Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries facing severe food shortages had declined from 15-million to about seven million over the past two years.

"The food situation has improved so there will not be as much pressure on prices," he said.

Mbeki will also visit, among others, a land reform project in Ceres, a housing project in Khayelitsha, and the Mitchell's Plain Community Health Centre. – Sapa.