335 Major General Phumza Gela, Andy Mashaile and Muldersdrift executive member Jonathan Woortmeyer discuss during a briefing on the police activity in the area held at Muldersdrift police station. 270213. Picture: Bongiwe Mchunu

Johannesburg - Police top brass converged on crime-ridden Muldersdrift on Wednesday to reassure the terrified community living in fear of criminals about plans to deal with rampant crime in the area.

But their speeches promising to keep violent criminals out of the area did not seem enough to offer comfort.

Some residents said they lived in constant fear of being shot dead at home during a robbery - because it’s something that has become common in Muldersdrift.

A handful of residents attended the meeting, addressed by deputy provincial commissioner Major- General Phumzo Gela.

He and his entourage were not the first to visit the area in response to the community’s outcry over the crime problem, which many believe is out of control.

On January 23, provincial commissioner General Mzwandile Petros went to Muldersdrift to engage with the residents and come up with a solution to combat violent crimes that have seen many residents flee the area.

While he was talking to the community, a man was shot dead in front of his family nearby.

On Wednesday, Gela said they were trying their best to rid Muldersdrift of crime. Police had increased their visibility in the area by deploying extra Flying Squad vehicles as well as three vehicles on the N14, 10 public order police, three K9 vehicles, and officers on horses to help patrol the terrain.

They were also trying to close points of entry to the area.

Police response time, Gela said, had improved - something the residents commended them on. He told them that three men - facing 14 charges that include murder and attempted murder - had been arrested for the murders of 13-year-old Alyssa Botha and Andre Jordaan.

Gela said police in the intelligence unit were busy profiling the attacks and the perpetrators to get an understanding of what was going on.

However, Lorraine Kretzschmar is one of those not pinning her hopes on police plans.

She and her family were robbed in November. With the help of security guard Dalton Tshisikhawe, the family vowed to find the perpetrators. They succeeded and handed the suspects over to the police.

The 62-year-old woman said the men were Mozambican and one laughed during the arrest, asking how civilians could arrest him when the police had failed to do so.

“The reality is that the police are untrained and have no maps. We are on farm roads and when you call the station they don’t know where you are.

“What they are doing is a good attempt, I’m not trashing it. But their intelligence-gathering is their biggest downfall,” she said.

[email protected]

The Star