Gangsters have no place in society

2019-07-16 06:00
Young and old painted the streets with different colours yelling at crimePHOTO: siphesihle notwabaza

Young and old painted the streets with different colours yelling at crimePHOTO: siphesihle notwabaza

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Community organisations, residents and religious leaders joined hands and sang in unison on Sunday 7 July, in their battle against crime.

The disgruntled group took to the streets of New Woodlands and marched peacefully against gangsterism, drugs and crime in general.

The march was organised by New Woodlands Ratepayers’ Association (NWRA) in partnership with the neighbourhood watch.

Addressing the gathering before hitting the streets, NWRA chairperson Shahiem van Nelson said the march was the first of its kind for the area.

He called on all residents to join and take responsibility for their area. He said people should not act like they do not live there and were dumped there.

He added that they should take a stand against corruption, crime and fraud in the area. He encouraged the gathering to show love to their neighbours.

“It is time we start to unite New Woodlands and develop neighbourly love. It is not only crime that is an issue and it is the little things that count,” he evangelised.

He lambasted the police for not attending the march, as they were invited.

Some of the changes they wish to see happen is an intensified visibility by police. They also have a not-so-friendly message to tavern owners who, he said, are not licensed and are drug lords.

“We want to tell them to close these types of businesses and find other sources of income,” he said.

He said they do not want children in the area to be exposed to shebeens that sell alcohol irresponsibly. His last request was to men; he appealed to them to lead by example not just in the area but in their families also. “Men must stand up and say this is my neighbourhood,” he encouraged.

Also, present at the march was ward 75 councillor Joan Woodman who said she supports the movement. She said the intention behind it was to let perpetrators of crime know that the community means business. Woodman said she is disturbed by the number of houses that were broken into a couple of weeks ago.

“Through this, we are hoping that New Woodlands will change,” she expressed.

For Jane Flandorp, a resident, the march is very close to home.

She revealed she has two children who are drug addicts and has tried everything she can think of to help them quit the habit.

She said when they want to feed their addiction they steal appliances in the house, sell them and buy drugs with the money. Her hope for the march is to send a message that drugs do not build, but destroy.

She added that she hopes this march will bring about change.

Another resident who echoed the words of Flandorp is Abeeda Carolisen.

She said she decided to join the march because the peace they used to enjoy in the area is history.

“For the past two years, I have never had a proper night’s sleep due to drug users who roam the streets and rob people,” she said.

The alleged robbers grew up in the area and now have turned against the same area where they were born, she said.

The criminals roam the streets, pretending to be nice people while they are assessing the situation. If they realise a certain house has no people in it, they immediately break into it and take whatever they want.

The situation is so horrible that she cannot take a walk on the streets like she used to, she shared.

Carolisen said she was dismayed by the conduct of the police, accusing them of not having the best interests of the residents at heart.

“I am disgusted and disappointed with the police. They do not take action. If you call them, they will come after an hour,” she lambasted.

According to van Nelson, the peaceful march will be a regular thing until the streets become clean and by that, he meant when there is a decrease in crime.

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