Rhodes Park attack: 'What's going on here is too terrible' - resident

2015-10-20 07:59
Crime scene at Rhodes Park (Jack Bloom, Supplied to News24)

Crime scene at Rhodes Park (Jack Bloom, Supplied to News24)

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Johannesburg - A Kensington resident who lives a few houses away from Rhodes Park - where a gang of 12 men drowned two men and raped one woman at the weekend - said crime in the area had reached new heights.

The woman, who asked to remain anonymous, said she was planning to leave Kensington due to the high levels of crime in the suburb. She has lived in the area for 27 years.

On Friday night, she had heard a woman screaming. The following morning she found out that a woman had been attacked by a group of men while walking home from work.

"You don't know what's going on in this area. It is too terrible."

"Why did they have to kill those men? Why did they have to rape that woman? Nobody should have to die in this manner. This is barbaric," she said.

She said almost all the homes in her street had been victims of crime and nothing was being done to make sure the criminals were punished.

"The criminals are [getting away with it]," she said in frustration.

On Saturday evening at about 19.00, two couples were attacked by a gang of 12 men as they took a walk around the park following a church service.

The couples were just about to leave the park when they were accosted by the gang.

According to one of the victims' uncle Sibongile Kela, his nephew Zukisa and his friend were beaten by the group. The gang then allegedly pinned down Zukisa's fiancée and raped her.

They then undressed the two men and tied their hands behind their backs and threw them in the dam. Both men drowned.

One of the women managed to escape and ran down the streets of Kensington screaming for help.

The area's ward councillor Carlos da Rocha said the park would now make sure the park opened at 06:00 and closed by 18:00, to avoid further incidents taking place as the park was not well lit at night.

Police officials had also committed to patrolling the parks and weeding out unwanted elements, he said.

"The Johannesburg Metro Police Department has committed to patrolling the park often. The SA Police Service has also committed themselves to patrolling the park and to arrest and search people.

"They are going to have regular operations where they go through the park and arrest anybody that's at the park when they shouldn't be.

"It's sad that something like this had to happen before they did that," Da Rocha said.

'It breaks the spirit'

He hoped people would not be discouraged from coming to the park.

"We've got a very close community... and when something like this happens it breaks the spirit. Everyday you here of things like this, but you always hear of them happening elsewhere.

"[This] will discourage some, but it will encourage others [to come to the park]. It's all a matter of who wants to make a stand."

City of Johannesburg's community safety member of the mayoral committee Sello Lemao condemned the attacks.

"Everyone has a right to move freely and safely within the city at all times," he said.

He said police visibility would be increased at Rhodes Park as well as the other city parks ahead of the festive season.

"At the same time we want to encourage people to be safety conscious at all times and not to walk in secluded areas of parks and open spaces after dark," Lemao said.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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