The City of Cape Town’s “Robocops” are out of work and are sitting at home.
The officers claim the Law Enforcement’s Stabilisation Unit, which was formed to help combat gang violence on the Cape Flats, is being disbanded because the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) no longer wants to fund the unit.
The unit, with a 90-strong team, was launched in August last year.
A member of the Stabilisation Unit, who asked to remain anonymous, tells the Daily Voice they have been “let go to make way for council workers”.
“The reason our contracts were not renewed is because the EPWP no longer wants to fund us, they say they will be making way for council workers. What about us? We also have families, children, expenses,” the angry woman says.
The woman says they “sacrifice their lives when we enter gang-ridden areas… but we do this because we have promised to serve and protect.”
She adds: “This unit has worked hard, why can’t they just give us the posts? We work 10-12 hour days, many times we get up at 2am. We are making a difference.
“DA leader Mmusi Maimane said live on TV just after the elections that he would see to us, now they want to change their minds. It’s unfair.
“We protect communities, JP Smith and Maimane should protect us.”
But MEC for Safety and Security, JP Smith, says members have not been fired, their contracts have simply not been renewed.
“Members of the Stabilisation Unit are employed on a fixed-term contract, and these contracts have expired. The City has, however, embarked on a process to create and fill permanent positions in the Unit. This process is currently ongoing,” he says.
It is not clear how many permanent posts will be created and filled.
Smith said it was envisaged that the recruitment process will be completed by November 1, before the peak holiday season, when crime usually spikes.
“No areas are [currently] affected negatively as services continues while the recruitment takes place,” he says.
Smith added the process isn’t in tandem with his Safety and Security portfolio merging with Social Services come January.