Hooligans menace peaceful village

2008-05-12 00:00

CRIMINALS and shebeen owners are allegedly wrecking the once peaceful and safe Oribi Village in Pietermaritzburg, and residents say that leaving their homes at all has become an unpleasant experience.

Young men smoking dagga in corridors is a common sight that makes the elderly and young women fear for their lives. Shebeens are multiplying in the area and are frequented by people described as “hooligans”.

Residents told The Witness that as an unsuspecting person walks past, the men ask for a cigarette or money to buy beer. If they refuse, they are robbed and assaulted.

The Witness visited the place last week and was met by the sight of groups of young men smoking dagga.

“We also have security guards who are normally seen smoking with these young men. The police take no action,” said a resident.

Residents in the area said they have either been victims of crime, or they know victims or witnesses of crimes, which mostly includes mugging and stabbing.

“I was sitting with my mother outside my home when these four guys approached. They grabbed my mother and threw her to the ground. Without saying anything they just walked away laughing,” said a young woman.

Another resident said he had just left his brother-in-law’s house at about 7 pm when two men grabbed him and threw him to the ground. He managed to stand up and put up a challenge and they ran away. But he sustained a bruise on his left hip.

Most of the village consists of conjoined houses with long corridors, which are dark at night. As a result, people are being mugged on their doorsteps. Those who can afford to are installing burglar bars in their homes. They said going away on a holiday means the risk of returning to an empty home.

Illegal occupations and electricity connections are also rife.

“There are people who do not pay rent here. They also have illegal electricity connections either from electricity poles or from the mains switches on the passages. Garages have been occupied by people who have turned them into their homes,” said another resident.

Police spokesman Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram said Oribi falls under the control of the Alexandra Road Police Station’s crime prevention plan. He encouraged the community to report criminals. “Policing is also the responsibility of the community, who have a moral duty to ensure that criminal activities are reported to the SAPS timeously,” said Budhram.


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