Joe Slovo residents say muggings remain all too common in the neighbourhood despite appeals to the Milnerton police to do something about the problem.
“We are tired of this in our community,” said resident Noluthando Jele. “Every day it’s the same thing, and sometimes we feel helpless even though there’s a police station not far from us. This is not to say that police are not patrolling areas, but there isn’t much being done. There seems to be a gang culture here in Joe Slovo, but the police just brush it to the side. Almost like they don’t want to deal with the big issues of crime in the area.”
Themba Mjoko said the police appeared only when residents took matters into their own hands.
“If we decide to take these skollies and beat them to death, then the police will come straight for us. But when skollies kill members of our community, there’s nothing that happens. We live in constant fear, and there’s parts of the community that we have to avoid or you risk getting mugged or stabbed. What kind of life is this that you can’t even walk freely in your own neighbourhood?”
Last month, two men accused of being thieves were stoned to death by residents. A 32-year-old man was arrested in connection with the incident (“Two men stoned to death in Joe Slovo,” Tabletalk, May 5).
Community leader Sibongile Kofi said he had asked the police for a patrol van to be constantly visible in the area.
“Some staff at the police station are rude and the station commander is never available,” he said. “I received an email from the station though saying that a van was dispatched to patrol the area frequently. But it doesn’t seem like anything has changed because muggings are happening day and night.”
According to Milnerton SAPS spokeswoman Captain Nopaya Madyibi, a police van has been allocated to patrol the Joe Slovo and Phoenix communities.
“Milnerton police are in partnership with these communities. Community members are encouraged to continue working jointly with the police,” she said.
Zandile Siyo said she feared being mugged, stabbed or sexually assaulted each morning she walked to the Omuramba MyCiTi bus stop.
“The quickest way to get to the bus station is to use S’Dwadwa Drive, which takes you through an alleyway onto Omuramba Road. But that alley is the main problem. The skollies sit there in the mornings and wait for people walking alone and attack them. We have started to walk in groups now. Each morning, we get together in large groups and walk as one. This is the only way to keep ourselves safe,” she said.
Tabletalk asked for comment from the Milnerton police station commander but none was forthcoming at the time of publication.