The incidents of crime allegedly caused by parolees in Nyanga continue to shock residents.
This emerged at the dialogue themed “Save Our Streets and Let’s Make a Difference in Nyanga” organised by local Human Rights and Youth Empowerment non-governmental organisation (NGO) Africa Unite.
The dialogue, which was also attended by the Deputy Minister of Police Makhotso Maggie Sotyu, on Wednesday February 15, at Zolani Centre, was aimed at eliminating confusion around the justice system and the parole system.
Residents voiced their concerns about parolees and cases which were delayed, and blamed police for arresting and releasing alleged perpetrators at will.
The three government departments which were invited to give input – police, justice and correctional services – explained how the parole system works in a bid to quell the community’s concerns and dispel accusations.
Africa Unite director Zoe Nkongolo said the NGO had been organising such dialogues to get people’s views on social crime, in the hope that it would help reduce crime in the area.
Mr Nkongolo said he was happy that people had been able to engage with Ms Sotyu and the other stakeholders. “This is not just a talk shop. There are solutions in our dialogues. We will continue to organise them for people to know and for them to be able to reduce crime,” he added.
He said the dialogues hope to build positive relationships between police and people in fighting against crime.
Billy Ngcobo, representative of the Department of Correctional Services, told residents that, on the parole board, which made decisions about the granting of parole, were representatives of the community, among others.
Mr Ngcobo urged the community to work with his department and also embrace parolees to assist their integration into society.
Ms Sotyu, however, voiced some concerns about parolees who become repeat offenders and called on parents to become part of the solution. “It is true that crime in Nyanga is very stubborn. According to stats crime is caused by 16- to 35-year-olds. (That includes) kids that are suppose to be at school. As parents, we must play a role. We need to make sure that gangs do not recruit them at schools,” she said.
Community police forum chairperson Martin Makasi reminded residents that this year alone an additional 101 police recruits had been deployed to the area. “Things are promising this year. Let us bring Nyanga to where it was before. Let us work together in crime fighting. In this place that you are in today, Ringo Madlingozi used to practise and rehearse here. It was a safer Nyanga and we can still go back to that again,” he said.