Neighbourhood watch members put their lives at risk and sacrifice their time to ensure that their communities are safer places to live in.
They play an invaluable role in assisting police officers and law enforcement agencies and are integral in ensuring that law and order are maintained in their communities.
However, two Gugulethu residents who are members of a neighbourhood watch from Ward 38 nearly lost their lives when they were shot multiples times three weeks ago while performing their duties.
Siyabonga Ngethe was shot once in his upper body just before 10pm while Luvuyo Ngxukum was shot eight times in his upper body just after 10pm on the same night – and shortly after helping a fellow watch member.
The two believe it was only through the grace of God that they were able to survive the attack. The two have recently been discharged from the hospital but were using crutches to walk.
Mr Ngxukum said they were at Section 8 in Gugulethu where they had been asked to patrol area as there was an event taking place. He said the first person that was shot was his fellow member, Mr Ngethe.
An emotional Mr Ngxukum said the person who shot him first swore at him while he was trying to make sense of what had just happened. He was shot multiple times in the back.
He said he noticed that the criminal had no intention of stopping shooting; he then pretended that he was dead and only then did the shooter stop.
After the shooter left, he slowly crawled towards the road so that he could be assisted. “I can’t stand for a long time. My legs get painful. There is a still a bullet in my kidney and doctors told me that they can’t remove it. I was told if it could move from there then they might be able to remove it. When I walk my leg becomes numb.
“The agreement was that police officers would work with us but that has failed to happen. When they see us they pass us. We are (left to) die. Others have decided to quit from being members of the neighbourhood watch because they fear for their lives. We don’t get paid.
“I have been volunteering for seven years now. If I had died who was going to bury me or look after my daughter?,” he said.
Despite being shot and nearly killed, Mr Ngxukum said he won’t stop performing his duties as a neighbourhood watch member as it is for the benefit of his community. But he said they need support from all spheres of government.
Mr Ngethe said he was hit by a gunshot from the back and he fell down.
He said after he was shot the criminals quickly got in their silver grey vehicle and left the scene. He said he won’t stop participating in the neighbourhood watch.
“I nearly lost my life for the community that I so dearly love. But residents and local businesses are not rallying behind us. I was shot in the back just a few centimetres from my spinal cord. The only thing that we need is wages or salaries,” he said.
Gugulethu police station spokesperson, Constable Sindiswe Ngqele, said no cases have been opened at the station regarding the matter.