Lawley residents left vulnerable as police station operates without power

The Lawley Community Service Station has been without electricity for more than two years and this has left the community it's supposed to serve vulnerable to crime because of a lack of resources.

A police officer at the Lawley Community Service Station works by torchlight as the station has been without power for more than two years. Picture: Boikhutso Ntsoko/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - Residents of the Lawley station informal settlement have had to contend with brutal crimes in the area as their local police station has been without electricity for almost three years.

Community members told Eyewitness News that they believed that a cable theft incident in 2019 led to the power outage.

However, police have not confirmed this and have been unavailable for comment.

The walk into the Lawley Community Service Station is frightening, with absolutely no light from the gate.

Inside the building, some police officers have gathered around a lamp to do their paperwork while others are in the room next door standing near a candle.

Community leader William Rampheri said that when this station was opened residents were hopeful that they’d be able to lay their criminal complaints here. But instead, they are turned away no matter how serious the crime because of a lack of resources.

"You may have a problem in the middle of the night and when you go to the police station they will simply say they have no vans and that you should find your way to the Lenasia Police Station for help," Rampheri said.

Resident Sfiso Memela was shot at a local tavern last month and had to wait for help from officers at the Lenasia Police Station more than four kilometres away.

He died on the scene.

Rampheri said that this was the order of the day here in Lawley.

"Even if you go there they won't help you. It's better for us to go to Lenasia where we know we will get help. The police here tell us to our faces that they cannot help us, and we should go to Lenasia," Rampheri said.

Eyewitness News reached out to the SAPS for comment but to no avail.

WATCH: Policing in the dark: Lawley Police Station without power for over two years