Will patrollers at Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay now have to play hide and seek with “skollies” this festive season?
This question comes after an attack on Imizamo Yethu Neighbourhood Watch patrollers during their patrols in the busy streets of the informal settlement.
According to one of the patrollers, they were responding to an incident of business robbery in Pietersen Street on Monday 29 October where a Somalian shop was being targeted.
He cannot be named due to safety reasons. He says it was around 09:00 when they received a tip-off.
“When we got there the suspects had already fled the scene. We held a road block checking ‘amaphela’ (local taxis) as we know they usually ride them to confuse the leads. As we were busy, they were spotted in the community and we rushed there where we managed to catch one of them. He resisted the arrest and ended up shooting and injuring one of our members. It was [the] second time this suspect [had shot] a patroller, but cases are never taken seriously. They (police) release them (suspects) to come back and attack us,” says the concerned patroller.
He says as patrollers they feel they are becoming targets and it is getting worse towards the end of the year.
He says they have previously seen patrollers’ homes set alight and in one incident they were shot at in front of the police, but no arrests were made in that case.
“Police are failing us, and we have been complaining for a very long period of time, sitting in meetings with the station, but nothing ever came out of it.”
Police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Tanya Lesch, confirmed the most recent incident and said an arrest was made on the day and the suspect is in custody.
“When they approached the suspect, he drew a firearm and a shot went off. One of the patrollers had a small graze on his leg. They reported the incident to SAPS. An attempted murder case and a [case of] possession of a firearm without a licence were opened. A 9mm short firearm, six 9mm rounds and a magazine were handed in as evidence.”