Central residents march for their safety

2019-08-07 06:02
Residents in central marched to City Hall last week to hand over a memorandum for a safer and more secure area.Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

Residents in central marched to City Hall last week to hand over a memorandum for a safer and more secure area.Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

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RESIDENTS and business owners in Central marched to City Hall last week to hand over a memorandum after suffering under a crime wave in the area.

The march was sparked due to a spate of crime incidents in Central after the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality (NMBM) and the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA) ended a security contract in September 2018.

Central residents are calling for an end to crime in the area and demanded NMBM Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, take action and provide proper security. They have since submitted a memorandum of grievances to Bobani, the SAPS and the Metro Police.

The memorandum said the community was concerned about the number of armed robberies‚ the lack of police visibility‚ business break-ins and assaults.

According to one of the organisers, Molly Reed, who is also the manager at the Laboria student residence, numerous meetings have been held regarding the problem. However, nothing has since materialised.

“We had meetings with the deputy mayor and the former safety and security MMC who promised us the world. As soon as the Metro Police moved out of the area, the criminals moved in. Nightly break-ins to shops are a normal occurrence.

There are no working lights in the area, which makes it dangerous for the students who get mugged on a regular basis. The SAPS sends a patrol van to drive around now and then, but they refuse to stop, saying it is too dangerous,” Reed said.

Protesters, singing and waving placards, sent out a call for residents to stand firm until their demands were met.

Among the protesters were students from NMU, marching for their safety after being victims of numerous armed robberies and assaults in Central.

One of the residents, who wished to remain anonymous, said that they had to live like prisoners in their own homes.

He added, “We are at our wits end. The drug lords operate with impunity and we fear for our lives. In earlier years, Central was a joy to live in. At the moment, nothing is being done to secure our safety.”

The residents have demanded the reinstatement of the Metro Police, proper lighting for the entire area and the removal of vagrants and criminals from the dilapidated buildings which house them.

According to the mayoral spokesperson, George Geleba, the grievances of the Central residents are of serious concern.

The municipality is currently involved in joint operations with the SAPS, the Metro Police, law enforcement and surveillance agencies to beef up patrols and police visibility to combat crime in the area.

“We (the municipality) are also in a process of fixing faulty lights in all affected areas of the metro. This will ensure safety for all residents,” Geleba said.

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