Cape Town: Community condemns police arrests of shack dweller youths

The shack dwellers of Civic Road near Parkwood, Cape Town, are angered that youth from the shacks are being subjected to repeated police harassment and arrests by the Grassy Park SAPS.

Submitted by Ed on February 13, 2007

The Civic Road residents have joined the Zille Rain Heights residents in opposing the city council’s bid to forcibly remove them to Happy Valley, 40 kms away.

There are no recreational facilities in these informal settlements. Youth who socialise with each other in the street are being repeatedly picked up and taken to Grassy Park police station. They are never charged with any crime, which makes the arrests unlawful. The police continually arrive in the informal settlements and search the children but never find anything illegal. After each arrest, harassment or search, the police merely give the kids a warning “not to play in the road”. Yet there is nowhere else for them to play.

Parents are angered about the continual police harassment. They are also treated with utter disrespect by the police. Every time they go down to the Grassy Park SAPS station to find out why their kids have been arrested, police refuse to tell them what the charges are.

It is clear to the residents that the police harassment is part of the strategy to remove all shack dwellers from the area, and fling them out into wastelands like Happy Valley ahead of the 2010 World Cup. Residents have vowed to take action against the police.