Residents of Vooslorus Extension 14 march against crime in their community
Friday 20 March 2009 by Nic
More than 200 residents from Vooslorus Concerned Residents (VCR) marched yesterday to the Vooslorus Police Station to deliver a memorandum of grievances in their area. The residents were supported by the Anti Privatisation Forum and the Soweto Concerned Residents (SCR).
VIOLENT CRIME RAMPANT
The area has been hard hit by violent crime since 1994 when the African National Congress government took over and it has been getting worse all the years. What is scaring the residents is the increase in violent crimes where women and children have been attacked in their homes during the day (house arrest). Just the last month a woman was attacked in her house and she was held under house arrest by the four heavily armed thugs who wanted to rape her. But she managed to fight back and for her efforts, she was left heavily bruised and scarred for life. This is not an isolated incident within the community of Extension 14 and this has left residents with no option but to stand up against these horrible deeds. Political parties are busy campaigning for elections in all the communities of South Africa yet none seem to have a clear strategy of how to combat crime in poor working class communities.
VCR raised the concern of unemployment in their area and how they live under threat of evictions on a daily basis. Due to the socio-economic conditions of our country, 40% of our people are unemployed and more than 50% are living under poverty. Vooslorus has experienced these social ills hence our community is under threat of evictions daily. Many of the residents are unemployed hence the community has experienced an increase in violent crimes and it is no longer safe to be living in the area or anywhere in poor working class neighborhoods.
It is clear that their homes are no longer a place of safety because women and children are being attacked, raped and murdered in their own homes. There has been an increase in housebreaking and house arrests during the day and at night. Families have been scared for life and there has been no help from the police in solving some of the recent incidents.
The problem is that there is a lack of police visibility and patrolling in the streets at all times due to the fact that there are apparently no police vans or human resources. But the community has witnessed police vans being used for private matters during working hours (police visit their girlfriends or they are parked outside taverns and sheebens). Many believe that due to poverty and the under paying of police, police prefer to arrest people for public indecency (drinking in public or urinating in public) rather than arresting hardcore criminals who are carrying dangerous weapons. They know that the people who are drunk will give them a bribe but not criminals who will rather fight fire with fire.
The residents demand that the police must work together with the community and not violate their constitutional rights to safety and security. There should be more police who are employed on a fulltime basis earning a decent living wage and not volunteer their services as at times this has paved the way for corruption. The state should make more vehicles available so that there can be more police who will patrol our communities at all hours and conduct road-blocks. They demand that SAPS also install CC-TV cameras in poor working class communities and not only in Germiston or Alberton and Boksburg where the rich stay. Lastly, they demanded that there should be more satellite police stations in the area to ensure more police presence. The police were given seven days to give answers to the memorandum of the community will take matters into their own hands.
This author's articles
- East Rand
- Soweto Concerned Residents - SCR