Residents want action on crime and drug abuse in Ga-Rankuwa
Pretoria - Residents of Ga-Rankuwa yesterday called for immediate action to curb crime and rampant drug abuse in their community.
They had convened at the Ga-Rankuwa Stadium to air their unhappiness with the state of affairs.
Ntsie Thoane said there was no police visibility and that the last time he saw an SAPS van patrolling where he lived was in 2015.
Thoane said he worked at the local radio station and often knocked off at 11pm. He said on his 4km walk home he had seen police vehicles patrolling the area.
He also said there were lots of undocumented foreign nationals. “I have reported the drug abuse taking place in my area. The police came through; a few days later I had someone I didn’t know calling me to ask why I had complained of them trading there.
“I don’t trust our police and I don’t even want them because when we go there they tell us that there are no vehicles available to respond to the call. I think the only solution is for the community to stand up and go back to having community policing forums.”
Nina Lekana from Zone 16 said they were suffering due to a shortage of police vehicles. She said criminals used the overgrown bush to hide in after they broke into people’s homes. “It’s been more than 10 years of us reporting the shortage of police vehicles, but nothing is being done. Police normally arrive four to five hours after a crime has been committed.”
Lucky Sefatsa said people were being killed and robbed on a daily basis to the extent that by 7pm it was no longer safe to be out in the streets.
“This is a peaceful place, but it has now turned into a war zone. Men now have to fetch women when they come back late from work to protect them from the criminals.”
Mpho Mafadi, a resident and one of the organisers of the Ga-Rankuwa Rise Against Crime campaign, said police also acknowledged there were challenges hampering their intervention.
They were under-resourced and understaffed, hence the need for community involvement.
SAPS spokesperson Captain Matthews Nkoadi said they were aware of the issues plaguing the community. They usually had four sectors, each with a vehicle running 24 hours every day. “What usually happens is that some vehicles get broken or need maintenance so what we at times have to do is to redirect the resources to areas most affected by crime.”
For the time being, Nkoadi said, they were engaging other sectors of the SAPS to assist in creating more visibility in the affected communities; they had communicated the issue to their superiors at provincial level.