‘Exploiters’ caught

2018-11-13 06:00

Shop owners are being urged to come forward, should they be targeted by a group of women allegedly working in the Strandfontein area.

Strandfontein Community Policing Forum chairperson, Sandy Schuter, says they have been made aware of the alleged incidents happening in the area.

“There are three spaza-shop owners who approached me. They were being exploited, intimidated, harassed and victimised by drug addicts. Women saying they would tell the police they raped them and that they better give money. Because they felt the police would believe the women, they gave in,” says Schuter.

Luckily, the women were tracked down and caught. “The shop owners did not want to make a case. A crime was committed against them. We needed to then take it on ourselves. We, as the neighbourhood watch and block watches, monitored them and caught them. The guys they were intimidating also spoke out. Ever since then not a single shop owner was harassed again,” she says.

She urges shop owners to speak out, should this occur again. “Don’t be afraid to go to the police if you are robbed. Foreign nationals are being harassed and exploited and physically harmed by youth and drug addicts in Strandfontein. Many of them don’t report it because they maybe don’t have papers to be in the country. We don’t care. Their safety while in the community will be the responsibility of the police. They need to make cases when crimes are committed. We want an open line of communication with the shop owners. We know they have their own challenges but feel they cannot come forward because of paperwork. I am worried about their safety. They serve our community and we need to make sure they are safe. Residents also need to protect one another and the foreigners in our area. We must look after each other regardless of race, nationality and religion. They were exploited by our very community and I am glad we could assist.”

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