Diepsloot on the edge as residents take to the streets … again

Aggrieved residents of Diepsloot on the northern edge of Johannesburg have decided to take their grievances back to the streets.

Their protest, which erupted over a week ago but was suspended after government promised to dispatch officials to the area, was revived on Wednesday. At the centre of the protest are brutal killings that have gripped the area since the start of the year.

Speaking to Sunday World on Wednesday, Joyce Mene, the chairperson of Diepsloot Community Forum, said the residents live in constant fear as the level of crime continues to skyrocket.

She said they want President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit the area and come up with a lasting solution to combat crime.

“There is no life in Diepsloot, we do not know what peace and security is because we have exhausted all the avenues that we were told would help, but we did not receive any help,” Mene said.

“We paused from Wednesday last week because we had gone to the Union Buildings in Pretoria and we were told that the ministers would come here on Tuesday, that again was an empty promise from their side.”

Mene revealed that a woman and her son were attacked by undocumented foreigners, saying the son is fighting for his life in hospital.

“This happened on Youth Day. These people broke into this woman’s house and shot both her and her son before they stole things in the house.

“Our main problem here are undocumented Zimbabweans and Mozambicans who go around committing crime because they know that no one knows them.”

Mene said the criminals threaten their livelihoods as the community forum because they know that they are against what they are doing.

“My son overheard them speaking around the area, saying they will kill me because I am a hindrance,” she said.

“He was traumatized and I don’t think he did well in the June exams because of all this. It was serious for him because one of our own forum members was killed while trying to help where there was a robbery case. They shot him and he died later in hospital.

“We are tired of these ministers, we want the president to come here and address this. He must give us an action plan about these foreign nationals.

“Minister Bheki Cele [police minister] came here and gave us a temporal solution, after that, it was back to normal. This is not what we voted for.”

A 65-year-old pensioner who could not be named for fear of her safety said she opened a creche in the area with the aim of improving the lives of children.

However, she said the crime in the township is making her job difficult.

“The area is generally not safe for all of us, however, I think it is worse for children. This is not a place that anyone would like to have their kids grow up in,” said the pensioner.

“We also have a responsibility to make sure that they are brought into school by people they know, and they leave for home with their parents.”

On Wednesday, the residents made their way to the police station to hand over a memorandum demanding police visibility in the area.


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