Shaudeville residents march against drugs and gangsters

They accuse police and courts of being too lenient on criminals

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Photo of boy with placard
Seven-year-old Kenan took part in a “Peace Walk” by residents of Shaudeville on Saturday. Photo: Joseph Chirume

Residents of Shaudeville, Port Elizabeth marched on Saturday to highlight the problems of drug abuse and gangsterism in their neighbourhood.

Nearly 200Ā people, some carrying placards, sang loudly: “We want peace”. They expressed disappointment with police and courts, accusing them of releasing suspects prematurely or giving them light sentences.

The protesters were led by a group called Women Against Violence and Abuse. TheyĀ marched through various drug hotspots and sprinkled cooking oil along the way to symbolically cleanse the streets.

Some of the placards read “Violence must fall, we want peace” and “Women, the flower of peace has bloomedā€.

Humeathia Draai, one of the organisers, said: “Our youthĀ are being destroyed by drugs and gangsterism. We live in fear and we fear for our children’s safety.ā€

She continued: “Our schools are invaded by gangsters who threaten the lives of our teachers and children. Our learners must pay protection fees to ensure they are not hurt or robbed. Drugs are sold on school premises.”

Another organiser, Desiree Peters, said: “We demand full police presence in our area and that the police arrest these gangsters as they use under-age children to sell their drugs, knowing that the children won’t be arrested because of their age.”

Peters saidĀ schools in the drug-troubled northern areas of the city should be fenced off to protect teachers, staff and children from gangsters.

Peters said witnesses were afraid to open cases against gangsters in caseĀ of retribution when they were released from prison.

She called forĀ a rehabilitation centre where parents of children using drugs could get free advice and a skills development centre in the area.

Speaking at the hand-over of the memorandum, Marcus Klate, chairman of the School Governing Body of David Livingstone Secondary School, called on parents and residents to unite againstĀ gangsterism.

“We have to take what rightfully belongs to us and make our environment free for all.”

John Best, theĀ Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Mayco Member for Safety and Security, accepted a memorandum on behalf of mayor AtholĀ Trollip.Ā Ā “We will be meeting with the police this week,” he said.

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TOPICS:  Crime Gangs

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Letters

Dear Editor

We thank you for writing this article. We as the School of David Livingstone and the community of Schauderville have had enough of the constant killings, and living in fear. Our children can't play in the streets like this little one in the photo, we must keep our children locked behind closed doors and gates fearing that should they play in the streets they might get shot. We want Peace in our City.

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