CPF chair under attack

2015-08-05 12:21
Jenime Harry was attacked and stabbed along with her family in their Fitzsimmons Road home on Monday.

Jenime Harry was attacked and stabbed along with her family in their Fitzsimmons Road home on Monday. (Ian Carbutt)

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A VIOLENT attack on Pietermaritzburg (Loop Street) Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Gerald Harry’s family may force him to step down from his ­position.

After serving 26 years on the CPF, Harry says two attacks on his family at his home was forcing him to “lose faith and hope in the police”.

In the latest incident, Harry’s family was attacked by two men who forced their way into his Fitzsimmons Road home at around 6.30 pm on Monday.

“I was at a community meeting in Manor and my family was at home watching TV and relaxing when one man brazenly pushed the front door open,” said Harry.

He said after his wife and son tried to push the door closed, another man pushed through with a knife in his hand.

“That man went straight for my daughter Jenime, who was carrying her three-year-old daughter. He stabbed her in her left arm and grabbed her cellphone. The other guy tried to steal the tablet from my son but dropped it,” said Harry. All the men got away with was the cellphone.

The traumatised family said the little three-year-old is still reeling from the night’s events.

“When they entered the home, my son threw the heater at one of them and my wife broke the broom on the other guy before they ran out,” he said.

“The police took over an hour to respond to our numerous calls. My hands are tied as CPF chairperson and my responsibilities as a father and husband need to come first. I want to resign from the CPF,” he said.

Harry said this was the second attack on his family in a few months. The first ­happened when an intruder followed his wife into their home during the early hours of a morning in May. His wife was fetching the newspaper when the man followed her inside. He ran out when she screamed.

Harry said he feels he can take better care of his family if he steps down from the CPF.

“I need to step down. We have to claim back our streets. We need police visibility in this area and faster response times. It is sickening to think that the police take such a long time to attend to urgent matters when people’s lives are at stake,” he said.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Constable Mthokozisi Ngobese said the police had established “sector policing”, which would address the issue of officers’ response times. This entails police officers being detailed to patrol specific areas, and includes vehicles being stationed at certain points.

“We are aware of the situation [rampant electricity theft and high crime rates] in the lower Masukwana (East) Street and ­Fitzsimmons Road area, and the matter is receiving attention,” he said.

Ngobese said the average response time is 20 minutes, but can be quicker ­“depending on circumstances”.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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