Fed up residents ‘take back’ Eastwood

2008-11-12 00:00

Fed up with the drug deals, violence and rape in Eastwood, religious leaders, schools, Msunduzi Municipality Deputy Mayor Mervyn Dirks and residents have resolved to “take back” their community from criminals.

The Eastside fraternal ministers and Dirks convened a meeting on Tuesday night at which community members were given a forum to raise their concerns about the high crime rate in the area.

Dirks said that Eastwood is a “haven for drugs” in the city.

He said that during the meeting residents related harrowing stories of assaults, murders, rape and house-breaking, which he said sometimes occur in daylight.

Dirks said that in most cases, these criminal acts are driven by the need to feed addictions to drugs.

There are allegations, said Dirks, that police partner with the drug dealers and they challenged the SAPS to be part and parcel of winning Eastwood back.

“We resolved in the meeting to form an interim committee that will work closely with the religious leaders in curbing criminal activities in the area.

“We encouraged residents to report crime to the police because they know who the suspects are,” he said.

Dirks added that the residents have complained about illegal taverns and tuckshops which they allege sell drugs to children.

The chairman of the fraternal ministers, Abram Booysen, said schools have also reported that they have been affected by the drugs.

He challenged the police to be part of the discussions and to promote safety in the area.

Councillor Mzwakhe Dladla told The Witness that the drug dealers sell their merchandise during the day and in public places.

He said a man was seen peddling drugs outside his office near the Eastwood Library.

Dladla said politicians, police, members of the community and religious leaders must unite to fight drugs and crime there.

SAPS spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said it is “encouraging to see that members of communities are coming on board”.

“ Together we can fight this.”

thandom@witness.co.za

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