Soshanguve residents speak out on crime

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Pretoria - Soshanguve residents have appealed to government and President Jacob Zuma to deal with the rampant crime that is devastating their community.

The area, especially Block L, often experiences criminal activities such as robberies and car hijackings. Drug abuse is a major contributor to the high incidence of crime, according to the community.

Community members, including students of the local Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) campus, said crime has made life difficult for them.

Student and crime victim, Rose Makhubela, told SAnews that she was recently robbed of her handbag and mobile phone. Criminals prey on students, whom they see as soft targets. Many are robbed of their mobile phones and money, especially during month ends.

"The nyaope boys see us [students] as soft targets, especially those who do not stay at the official residences (sic). We are forced to travel in groups because some even get raped,” she said.

The student attributed the high crime in the area to a lack of opportunities for youth.

"On any given day here, you find groups and groups of young people sitting in the corners with nothing to do. I believe if [there were] opportunities or a skills centre here in the township, we wouldn't have this problem.

“[Youth] would be occupied with progressing in life instead of inventing new drug crazes like ‘Bluetooth’."

Bluetooth is a new drug craze that has hit townships in Pretoria. Using syringes, the practice sees blood being drawn from a drug user, who has is high on nyaope or other narcotics, and the blood is then transferred to another addict.

Community member Susan Morake said from as early as 6:30pm, they are indoors in fear that criminals come out to play after that. The children in the community no longer play in the streets or go to the WiFi hotspots in the area because they get mugged at gunpoint.

"They have guns and are always shooting. We reported the matter to police, but the criminals are released shortly after their arrests."

Morake said they were also struggling with unemployment, which she believed was contributing to the high levels of crime. She pleaded with the President to deal with corrupt officials who facilitate the sale of drugs to youth.

President Zuma meets community

President Zuma met with the community on Tuesday morning during a surprise anti-crime visit to the community.  

The visit was part of the Siyahlola Presidential Monitoring Programme, and government's fight against crime, which is an apex priority for this administration.

The President used the opportunity to speak to residents at the Shoshanguve crossing and had an interaction with drug users at Block LL.

He visited Rietgat police station to receive a briefing on challenges and support needed in the fight against crime in in the area.

"We came here to listen to the people... Even in my State of the Nation Address, this is one area I mentioned that has a high crime rate… A concerned citizen wrote a letter… reporting the rate of crime," said President Zuma, who was accompanied by two Ministers and three Deputy Ministers.

"We got a frank description of the problem of drugs and crime, and how we can meet and plan with the [community] on a way forward. Crime is a problem that faces the country and I'm trying to find means of dealing with crime,” the President said.

According to the President, the JCPS cluster will be meeting soon to discuss the high crime rate in the country. More visits such as today’s will also follow. -

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