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Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane had a hard time on Friday trying to assure Lenasia residents that the government will do everything in its power to ensure crime decreases in the area.
The community of Lenasia, south of Johannesburg, is reeling following the brutal murders of two of its senior citizens earlier this week.
Sisters Zuleikha Ghora, 75, and Hawa Biki, 70, of extension 11 in Lenasia were found in their home, bludgeoned to death on Wednesday.
It is believed Ghora was found in her bedroom, while Biki was discovered on the dining room floor, lying in a pool of blood.
On Friday, Mokonyane, along with MEC for Safety and Security Faith Mazibuko, visited the area.
Every time Mokonyane tried to address the community she was heckled. After a struggle she managed to get her message across, saying she had felt “ashamed” and “disgraced” after hearing that the two senior citizens were murdered in such a brutal way.
“We would like to send our deepest condolences to the family of the bereaved,” said Mokonyane.
“We condemn what has happened in Lenasia. No senior citizen should ever die such a horrific death.”
Mokonyane confirmed that a man has been arrested in connection with the murders.
“We have made this case top priority,” said Mokonyane.
“We already have a suspect in custody and evidence has already been sent to our lab in Pretoria.
“There is no resting. We’ll make sure that the perpetrators are brought to book.”
Mokonyane called on residents to join police in the fight against crime.
“We all need to be active citizens and help one another. Aside from the police protecting the community, neighbours need to protect and help each other too.
“We need to work together to suck out all the criminals from Lenasia.”
Crime has been steadily increasing in Lenasia.
On Friday a house was burgled two streets away from where the murders occurred.
Residents say they are frustrated by the efforts of the police and the community policing forum (CPF) in Lenasia.
“We have close to a million people staying in Lenasia, yet we only have eight police vehicles patrolling. There is no visibility at all,” said Romila Sue Padayachee, a resident of extension 11.
Padayachee said she was raped in 2006 and was now HIV positive.
“The community has just about had enough. The CPF does nothing and there are very few police patrolling the area.”
The community wanted answers from the government about why Lenasia was so neglected.
“We have suffered with crime for many years and it just keeps getting worse. I have had to take the law into my own hands and buy a gun. I feel much safer now and I am not afraid to use it.”
Another resident who did not want to be named, was robbed at her home a few years ago and shot. Today she is in a wheelchair.
“I live my life feeling terrified every single day,” said the woman.
“If criminals are so ruthless and kill such old people, what’s going to stop them from killing a woman in a wheelchair? We are vulnerable and nobody is doing anything about it.”
Zaid Chopdat, another resident of extension 11, said his entire family was held at gunpoint a few months ago outside their home.
His four-year-old daughter had a gun put to her head, while his one- year-old son was flung around during the ordeal.
“The crime is out of control in Lenasia,” said Chopdat.
“I hardly ever see any police vehicles patrolling our street. We are pleading with the police to increase visibility.”