Gugs fed-up with crime and gangs

On Monday morning, the Gugulethu community marched against all forms of crime.

The Gugulethu sector one Neighbourhood Watches (NHWs) gathered at the Gugulethu police station on Easter Monday to emphasise the message of cleaning up the area and combating crime.

They proceeded to the NY126 hall where they introduced a programme of cleaning and recycling that can help NHW members sustain themselves.

The men in the reflector jackets turned up early, holding up placards denouncing crime and the young gangs in Gugulethu.

In conjunction with Early Childhood and Community Development Service Provider, the Community Police Forum, Police, Igunya Neighbourhood Watch Groups Federation, Ilitha Labantu and other stakeholders including pastors, the group marched through the streets of Gugulethu.

Freda Andjene, one of the leading organisers, said the day was twofold, to introduce both the NHW to the community of wards 40 and 44, and the cleaning programme.

But the day’s message was a stance of taking a holistic approach in restoring Gugulethu.

Ms Andjene said they also want to amalgamate the two NHWs. “This is something we want for these two watches. We want them to work together in the fight against crime. But we also want them to work freely with the police. Our sector one manager has been good to us so we have to make sure that we fight crime together. But most importantly we want to make NHWs to sustain themselves. We have secured a recycling deal with Nampak. We want to reclaim our Gugulethu,” she said.

She said Gugulethu has been going through challenges with crime rising.

She said with the introduction of the NHWs in place, the the mission is to revitalise the fight against all forms of crimes.

David Mahlanze, Ward 44 NHW deputy chairperson condemned crime and violence in the area. He said they are on a mission to end it. “We have been having gang fights day and night here. We are held ransom by young people who are fighting for something we do not know. We have also invited them to this march after talking to them. They have agreed and some are here with us today. That is a positive step going forward, And that makes us happy. But the ultimate aim is to end all forms of crime,” he said.

His Ward 40 colleague Dineo Maliwa shared the same sentiments and said crime is rife in the area. Ms Maliwa is of the belief that no one else can eradicate crime in Gugulethu but its people. “We just need to work together. Parents should stand up. These are our children. But sometimes they commit crime not because they want to but because they want attention from us as parents. Maybe they are passing a message that we are not heeding. They are crying out for help but we don’t get that. We need to speak to them. Also we need to work with the police. There should also be programmes designed for them. Maybe councillors can help in that regard,” she said.

The Igunya Neighbourhood Watch Groups Federation, which includes NHWs from Nyanga, KTC, Gugulethu and other areas, called on NHWs to back each other up.

Chairperson Deon Makita encouraged the community, police and the watches to work together to make communities safer. He said they still find people buying stolen goods and condemned that.

He said through working together Gugulethu would change.

Elmarie Linde, Democratic Alliance PR councillor who also attended the march, promised to come back to Gugulethu to verify a few things. But she said she is planning something for Gugulethu.

Community members are tired of being robbed by youngsters.
Ward 40 colleague Dineo Maliwa urged parents to listen and hear their children’s cry for help that comes in many ways and forms.