Nyanga residents have called on a higher power to help police fight crime in their area, with two mass prayer events having been held in the area over the past few days.
The first took place at New Eisleben in Crossroads on Saturday May 21, followed by another on Tuesday May 24.
On Tuesday a group of crime fighters, and women and men from the community, led by the Nyanga police desk of Spiritual Crime Prevention, gathered to pray close to the Crossroads clinic where a number of crimes had been perpetrated.
Constable Nandisa Mpengesi from Nyanga SAPS’ social crime prevention unit, said that every citizen should feel safe to walk the streets without fear of harassment or violence.
“We need religious leaders, traditional leaders and others to be part of us. We do not want people to get goosebumps when they come to Nyanga,” she said, emphasising that fighting crime was everyone’s responsibility.
After a short prayer, the concerned citizens spoke to people on the streets and gave them pamphlets containing information about crime and how to protect themselves against it. They also went inside the clinic to address patients and staff members.
Both pastors who attended on behalf of church fraternity, Dumisani Qwebe and Mawande Lugongolo, said the church had an influence in the community and that it was important for them to be supportive of the police.
Mr Qwebe is also the secretary of the Nyanga Community Policing Forum.
“It is our responsibility to mend broken families. There are a lot of broken families and we believe that that contributes to crime. It is for us to reclaim our streets. We all have a responsibility to say no to crimes,” he said.
Reverend Lugongolo encouraged religious leaders to be part of the solution. “I utterly condemn the senseless crimes in all of its forms. But we also encourage religious leaders in their respective areas to join us in the fight against these heinous crimes. In fact they should always visit their congregants and know where they stay and their experiences,” said Mr Lugongolo.
At Saturday’s event, residents said divine intervention was needed in the fight against crime and that police officers could not do the job alone. It was attended by community leaders as well as senior police officers from Nyanga police station.
Pastor Nozuko Fesi from Christian Faith Foundation Ministries, said Nyanga had complex challenges and, through prayer, they wanted to reconnect with the residents.
“We want the cops to know that someone cares. The power of prayer is unmatched and prayer is powerful. We are keeping the faith that better days are ahead,” she said.
‘’The purpose is to call on God as a community to have peace prevail.”
Residents, however, emphasised that while prayer and action from the community did make a difference, it was also essential for parents to do their part and not harbour criminals or hide their children’s criminal activity.
Nyanga Community Police Forum’s Sector Two youth secretary, Sthembele Nonkelela, said the prayer meeting follows a recent imbizo with residents where one of the key issues identified was a need for spiritual guidance, particularly among the youth.
Lighting a candle for peace, Nyanga station commander Brigadier Vuyisile Ncata applauded the residents for initiating the prayer meeting and told them that fighting crime could not be left to police alone.
There will be another prayer event at the corner of New Eisleben and Miller Camp roads on Tuesday May 31, followed by another at the Mzamomhle clinic in Brown’s Farm on Tuesday June 7 and then at Ramaphosa informal settlements on Tuesday June 14. All will start at 10 am.