KZN families on their own against thugs

2014-10-18 00:00

GREYTOWN’s Chaning-Pearce family have personally briefed the president on their crime nightmare, and are now trying the Public Protector.

The two brothers and their neighbours consider themselves under siege from armed robbers, following six serious attacks and eight other crimes in two years. They alleged that Greytown police “lack the resources and the capacity” to solve any of these crimes — including murder and massed raids — and are now considering the use of aerial drones in a civilian stand against the onslaught.

Julian and Carla Chaning-Pearce were both wounded during an armed robbery in August. They escaped with their lives thanks to a “kitchen gun battle” which saw two of the six attackers killed. Adrian Chaning-Pearce was stabbed nine times in November 2012 on the same property, but recently learned the case had been closed. He said an “excellent” senior officer had come from provincial headquarters to revive the investigation. However, he said 13 of the 14 crimes along Mispah Road had yet to see an arrest.

Chaning-Pearce said a neighbour, Dave Maratos, was murdered five months later. In July the Mispah community suffered another spate of crimes. Chaning-Pearce said he was among a dozen neighbours who had since launched daily neighbourhood watch patrols to supplement a private security company’s presence, but that the area would remain vulnerable until police put the gang behind bars.

He said the criminal justice system’s response to his own stabbing attack was symptomatic of the dysfunction in local law enforcement: “We had to get a letter from the doctor who attended to me [to confirm] that it was a life-threatening injury, as clearly being stabbed nine times and shot at twice does not amount to attempted murder — I kid you not.” “Then the prosecutor dropped the attempted murder charge prior to the court case.”

And Chaning-Pearce said the response to the recent theft of a “four-wheeler machine” on his property summed up the police approach: “Our security guy actually caught the guy while he was riding the machine; when the police came the guy admitted to the theft and then the case was thrown out for insufficient evidence!”

He said the community was drafting an appeal to the Public Protector’s office to launch an investigation into police resources and training at Greytown SAPS. “They are underfunded, undermanned, undermanaged and therefore, in some cases, completely unmotivated,” he said.

He said the community had also briefed President Jacob Zuma on the security crisis at a meeting in September last year, to no avail.

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