Residents of Ocean View formed a human chain on Saturday to show unity in the fight against crime in the area.
Nervous to identify themselves out of fear that they would be endangering their lives, residents we spoke to said 13 people have been murdered this year in their community. The latest victim, GroundUp was told, was a teenage girl who was raped and murdered.
But South African Police Service (SAPS) spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said that due to a national moratorium, he cannot release crime statics for the area. “Sporadic incidents of gang related violence are reported in Ocean View which can be attributed to the drug situation in the area,” he said.
This is the second time this year that the community has come together against crime. In April residents demonstrated at the entrance to the township.
On Saturday attendees ranged in age from children to pensioners. Many held placards with pictures of family members or friends that have been murdered.
“We want to speak but we are scared. … Your life becomes in danger,” said a resident.
Residents have been asking that Ocean View be recognised as a gang area, where special gang units can be deployed. Community leader Sharon Daniels told GroundUp that in a meeting in 2015, they were told that they do not meet the criteria for the area to be identified as a gang area.
Lieutenant Colonel Traut said: “Various crime combating initiatives are applied to address the situation. However, due to the operational nature of thess initiatives, the details thereof cannot be disclosed.”
Ocean View shares its police station with Masiphumelele which has crime problems of its own. The latter has had a number of violent protests over the lack policing in the area. The protests resulted in Masiphumelele getting a mobile police station.
Community leader Patrick Joseph told GroundUp that the human chain is a cry for help from the community. “We want to create awareness of what is going on in the community. We can no longer sit around in silence and watch. We want to bring focus to Ocean View,” he said.
Joseph said that they want to develop an action plan with the City to deal with the issues faced by the community.
“To use the word gatvol is a compliment. There are much stronger words I can use. Our kids should not die in vain. Every life counts,” said Joseph.
If you see people stealing telephone cables, you cannot report it to the police. However, if they get a phone call that the neighbour is smoking a joint in his own house, the police will arrest him.
© 2017 GroundUp.
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