Residents help keep streets safe during festive season

The Mtha members demolsihed a house which belonged to an alleged criminal in the area.

As millions of South Africans enjoyed end-of-year festivities, a group of women and men from KTC, kept their eyes firmly glued on the criminals – patrolling their neighbourhood morning and evening.

The group, largely made up of women, was established towards the end of the year by Umtha as a festive season safety plan, to guard the notorious area, the community and visitors against thugs.

Umtha is a non-governmental-organisation that works in various communities to bring crime under control. The NGO recruits people from within communities to work as its agents against crime, thus bringing peace and stability to the respective communities.

And the group’s presence has yielded some good results according to members.

Vukani met with them at KTC hall on Friday January 12, as they prepare to hang up their safety boots, batons and aprons at the end of the month. Visibly in high spirits after a morning patrol, members said they were ecstatic about what they had achieved.

Project supervisor, Vathiswa Dlanga, said members of the group identified several crime hot spots and focused their attention on them. As a result, she said few robbery incidents were reported in KTC over the festive season.

The group also assisted in the capture of a well-known criminal in the community.

The man, who is notorious for robbing people and stealing from people’s homes, was assaulted by the community after being spotted with a stolen item.

His shack was demolished by the angry residents and a host of items including cellphones and laptops were discovered from his shack.

The man was also assaulted by the community, and is believed to be recovering in hospital.

Ms Dlanga said people hailed the project and called for more support.

She added that at first they were ridiculed and threatened by some members of the community, however, their support grew bigger.

“We also need more support from the police,” she said, adding that the waiting time for police assistance could be up to six hours.

“That contributes to crime,” said Ms Dlanga.

Member of the group, Noxolo George, said the project was beneficial to the entire community. She said although they will be hanging up their safety gear at the end of the month with the festive season over, they needed more support for the project.

“We would like the project to continue to fight crime. Through this project we are able to revive community structures, but we cannot work alone,” she said.

“There are structures but they are not working properly. And we need all the community structures to be involved in order to get rid of crime.”

That, she said, was possible through support from various community stakeholders.