Kimberley - Angry Lerato Park residents on Monday demolished a shack after two 16-year-old girls, who went missing over the weekend, were found drunk in the abandoned structure.
It is believed that the teenage girls ran away from home and occupied the shack for two days before they were found.
Residents in the area tore down the shack after apparently finding dagga, empty alcohol bottles, an oka pipe and packets of condoms inside.
Residents said they feared that young girls were lured to the shack where they engaged in drug and alcohol abuse and under-age sex.
They also claimed that the shack was being used to store stolen goods.
Alfred Selloane, a community member, said that the owner of the shack left it in the care of a youngster, who resided in Bloemander.
He said that it was being used by a group of boys, who called themselves “Welcome to the young money lovers production”.
“The shack is of great concern to the community as people are often robbed or their shacks are broken into and the stolen goods are stored here.”
He said it was also a hideout for youngsters, who went there at night to drink and cause trouble.
“We will destroy all abandoned shacks in Lerato Park if necessary,” Selloane said. “We will do whatever we need to do to prevent our children from being destroyed.”
The stepfather of one of the girls said on monday that he was concerned about her behaviour as she often ran away.
“She left home around 11pm on Friday and she never returned. Initially we thought she was with her biological father but when the parents of the other girl came looking for her daughter, I knew something was up.”
He said he found the girls passed out in the shack.
Ward councillor, Dennis Pienaar, said several complaints had been raised during community meetings about abandoned shacks in Lerato Park.
“The shacks are often used by young people as hideouts and a place where they can engage in sexual activities or drug and alcohol abuse.”
He said a militant programme would be adopted to demolish all abandoned shacks in the area that did not have proper adult supervision.
“We cannot continue to have our children, who are the future, ruined by men who come from surrounding areas to exploit and abuse them.”
He added that the municipality and the police would be included as stakeholders.
“These empty shacks make our area unsafe - the elderly are too scared to stay alone. We need to restore dignity to Lerato Park.”
He said there were no activities for children in the area and this encouraged them to get up to mischief as they had too much time on their hands.
“We need support from social services to intervene in homes where children are problematic and run away from home, while facilities, like libraries, must also be built to keep our children busy.”
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