PA police, please do your job

When Dave Young called me last Thursday evening, describing his futile attempts to contact the Port Alfred police station, I felt just as helpless.

Long-time locals will remember Young as a community stalwart and the boss of the old D&A Timbers, now Buco.

Several years ago, before he was afflicted with cancer, Young led a group of concerned residents and businesspeople in an effort to compel the police to address the issue of drunken revelry at the Beach Road braai pens.

He rightly pointed out that the people drinking alcohol in public were breaking the law, which SAPS must enforce.

He said due to the local police’s failure to nip it in the bud, Port Alfred had become known as a place where one could have a drunken party in public without consequences. People were coming from other towns, as far away as East London and Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth) to party at our beaches and picnic spots.

There was some lip service paid by police and the municipal authorities about addressing the issue, but they merely shifted the problem by revamping the krantz braai area as an alternative destination for the out-of-town revellers.

Municipal officials even referred to it as an unofficial “designated drinking area”. Right next to the Port Alfred Hospital.

Currently, residents will have noticed a further upgrade to the facilities, including a fence erected around the entire krantz braai area in an attempt to control entry, and new ablution blocks. This was apparently funded by a national government grant.

During this upgrade, the krantz has not been accessible.

But even when it was, people continued to also use the Beach Road braai pens. They remain a venue for public drinking, associated noise disturbances and pervasive littering, as reported in articles over the past few weeks. The same is true for West Beach and even Kelly’s Blue Flag Beach.

Also disturbing is the public lewdness that accompanies the boozing, like public urination and women stripping naked.

All of these are issues which the police have been lax to address, and to which the municipality has also turned a blind eye.

I am glad new councillor Nadine Haynes is showing some mettle to tackle the issue.

But the response she got from Captain Jacques Barkhuizen, that there aren’t enough police cells in which to place people breaking the law, is utterly disingenuous.

One good cop has already shown the way – seize the booze bottles and pour out the contents. This will put a stop to the lawlessness and the associated bad behaviour. Police must do their job.

– Jon Houzet

One good cop

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