‘Anyone at any time can be a victim’

The corner of Kiwu Road and Freedom Way is a mugging hot spot in Joe Slovo Park.

The authorities must act urgently against the drugged-up thugs who are behind a wave of killings, robberies and extortion in Joe Slovo Park, say residents.

In the latest incident, a man was fatally stabbed in the neck by three men who robbed him in Democracy Way, as he walked to work at Sable Square at 6am on Wednesday December 13, say police.

“It is not clear what they took from the man at this stage. The deceased was declared dead on the scene,” said Milnerton police spokeswoman Captain Nopaya Madyibi.

The killers are still at large.

Residents say crime in the area is out of control.

Last month, three people were shot and killed in Joe Slovo Park after a failed extortion attempt (“Three shot dead in Joe Slovo shebeen,” Tabletalk, November 22). At the end of October, a Joe Slovo taxi owner was shot and killed at a petrol station (“Police investigate killing of Joe Slovo taxi owner,” Tabletalk, November 1).

Resident Phindile Siyo said the area’s muggers seemed to know no fear and are known as “amaphara”, which refers to people on drugs, especially tik.

“They are robbing people at gunpoint in broad daylight now. A friend of mine was attacked by two amaphara last week while going to work. He saw them coming towards him and saw they were on a mission. He managed to run away and sought help from a house nearby.

“A long time ago, it used to be people who walked in the middle of the night that were targets of muggers. Now it seems like anyone at any time can be a victim.

“The drug use in this area is definitely adding to the increase in these muggings.”

A woman, who didn’t want to be named as she feared for her safety, said she had been combing her hair at her front door, getting ready for work, on the morning of Monday November 11, when someone had been mugged in front of her.

“The man refused, and they hit him with the back of the gun across his face, and it looked like it did so much damage to his cheek. Through all of that, I was worried because my son was in the toilet, which is outside, not attached to the main house, and I prayed that he stays in there so he doesn’t have to see that whole thing or get harmed.”

Residents feel much greater police visibility, or even intervention by the army, is needed to turn things around in the crime-plagued neighbourhood.

In an emailed response to Tabletalk’s questions, Police Oversight and Community Safety MEC Reagan Allen, said that he was concerned about the crime in Joe Slovo Park and the province in general, especially a recent increase in the murder rate.

“The recent crime statistics, July to September 2023, showed an increase in the murder rate when compared to the same period of the previous year,” he noted, referring to a 10.9% increase from 1 050 to 1 164 cases.

That followed 14.4% and 5.5% drops in the murder rate for two consecutive quarters in the first half of 2023, meaning 198 fewer people were murdered in the province in the first six months of 2023 compared to the same period last year.

“However, one murder remains one murder too many,” he said. “This is part of the reason why we’re continuing to support our safety partners in the area. We support the Milnerton CPF, along with six accredited neighbourhood watches in the area. These brave volunteers play a critical role in ensuring greater safety across all communities.”