Ndzuzo closed at night

2019-03-21 06:02
In a bid to maintain law and order, Ndzuzo Street residents have decided to close off their street to pedestrians at night.PHOTOS: Velani Ludidi

In a bid to maintain law and order, Ndzuzo Street residents have decided to close off their street to pedestrians at night.PHOTOS: Velani Ludidi

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When you enter Ndzuzo Street in Nomzamo you are confronted by a sign warning you of times people can walk in the streets.

The signage is fed-up residents’ way of combating and addressing an increase in criminal activity in the street. Following a spate of robberies in the street recently, they have resorted to claiming back the street and closing off the street at night.

The sign states that no-one is allowed to roam the streets after 22:00 on weekdays and after midnight at weekends, warning people they will be in trouble if they are caught transgressing these times. The only exception is those working late and needing to access their homes after these set times.

“We are tired of robberies occurring in our street, and police are not assisting us in any way,” said community leader Lumkile Ludziya. “We have been complaining about the burglaries to the police. At times we have managed to apprehend the perpetrators, but they are released after spending a night in the police holding cells.”

He said the community has started regular patrols in an attempt to root out criminal activities in the street.

“If we find you walking around at night, we will stop and interrogate you,” Ludziya said. “You will have to explain why are you walking in the street so late at night.” He did not say what would happen to a person found roaming the streets without a valid reason.

Resident Nkosithandile Nkosiyane said residents were left with no option but to take back their street from criminals.

“We want to be able to identify the criminals who are committing these crimes,” he said. “We refuse to be ruled by criminals in our street. We have also ascertained that the criminals are sometimes dressed in work uniforms, pretending to be coming from work, but we will not be fooled by them. We will catch them.”

Local ward councillor Sithembile Mfecane supports the initiative. “Crime is a big problem in that particular street,” he said.

“The residents have decided to take a stand against crime, but I have been informed that there have been instances where suspected perpetrators have been beaten up, which is not allowed. I have cautioned patrollers against mob justice, even if they catch them in the act.”

Captain Joseph du Toit, head of visible policing for Lwandle police, supports the community’s stance not to tolerate criminal activity, but categorically stated their efforts must be done in accordance with the law. “It is a good thing that the community is taking a stand against crime, but neighbourhood watches must be registered as organisations operating under the auspices of the Lwandle Community Policing Forum,” he warned.

Responding to residents’ allegations of suspects being released the day after their arrest, Du Toit said: “We, as the police, execute the arrests, but it is the magistrate who decides if the person stays in jail or not.”

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