In a bid to put a stop to the persistent and escalating crime that is rocking the community of Lower Crossroads and surrounds, young people of the area have called on the national police minister, Bheki Cele, to allow police to shoot criminals or bring back the death penalty.
The group made the passionate plea on Tuesday morning, March 13, when the minister was visiting the area. Young people, some in pyjamas, raised their concerns and urged the minister to take action, saying crime needed to be nipped in the bud.
“We are scared to go to school. Young people are dying here. I was suppose to be at school but here I am sitting at home because of the fear of criminals. Please allow police to shoot criminals or rather bring back the death penalty,” said one.
Another one said it looks like police are not properly trained to deal with crime. She urged the minister to confiscate guns that “are all over the place”.
Mr Cele’s visit sparked debate among young and old alike.
Mr Cele said the Western Cape is a focus area for his ministry. He assured residents that government, especially the police, have plans to combat crime.
He said the province is prioritised in terms of resources. “We know that this province is (known as the murder capital). We have plans in place for gangsters, hijackers and killers. We have plans not only for this province but the entire country. This is what we have to do with the national picture. We will be tough on all crimes,” he said.
Responding to the youth’s concerns, the minister said he will have to come back to Lower Crossroads and sit with the youth. He said police need to be visible and improve the relationship with the community. “But criminals should know who we are and there should be high visibility. We need to protect our communities,” he said.The minister started his visit at the Gugulethu police station before heading to the community where he met hordes of people asking questions and some even asking him to build houses for them.
In all the areas he visited he met with stakeholders to come up with ways to deal with the matter of crime. He said his visit was to bring about stability in all the areas where there is unrest.
He ended his visit to Lower Crossroads after addressing residents from different areas. The hundreds of community members greeted him with song, however, some songs were directing him to act quickly against crime.