Gugulethu police and its community policing forum (CPF) met with residents of Lotus informal settlement over the weekend to quell the tension gripping the area.
The police said they had met with angry residents after false information started circulating that the wife of a dance teacher who had been arrested on suspicion of rape, wanted to come back to the area.
They also said somebody had spread rumours that the dance teacher was out on bail (“Community demolish shacks of alleged rapist”, Vukani, January 14).
Last Saturday police, led by Guglethu police station’ sDetective Commander, Colonel Abram Moreku, met with a group of people to clear up the situation and ensure everyone had the correct information.
At the meeting residents also raised issues they had with police but Colonel Moreku quickly set their minds at ease, but also admitted that he understood some of the grievances raised by residents.
Colonel Moreku also assured the residents that the dance teacher was still in Pollsmoor Prison and was due to appear in court on Wednesday February 3. He also told them that additional charges had been laid by seven other families who had been in the Eastern Cape when the teacher was arrested.
“On behalf of the station commander, I had to come and explain to them how far is the case,” said Colonel Moreku.
“We were told that the residents are angry because the perpetrator was out on bail. That is nonsense. The man is still in jail,” he said.
“We are here to tell them not to panic and not to take a law into their hands when cases like these happen here.
“For instance, demolishing the perpetrator’s shacks was not on. By so doing the residents are taking the law into their own hands. We want residents to be clear of such acts. If they have something, the police station is there for them,” he said.
Even after the address by the police, however, the irate residents made it clear that any person who did wrong in their community would be required to pack up and leave.
Not even CPF chairperson Thembinkosi Mjuza could convince them otherwise.
“We (do not) condone crime. We will always encourage people not to break the law. As CPF we want residents to unite and be one. Fight crime in unison but do not take the law into your own hands,” he said.
The meeting was attended by the local councillor Sonwabo Ngxumza.
After hours in the hot sun, the meeting ended with residents dispersing peacefully.