Call to stand up

Hundreds of residents responded to a viral WhatsApp message calling for a mass meeting, against crime, at the Westridge Gardens.

Mitchell’s Plain parents were urged to be vigilant when it came to the safety of their children and to stand up against gangsterism and drugs to prevent these social ills from killing the community.

About 300 people met to vent their frustration with crime after a social media text was circulated, calling for a mass safety meeting at Westridge Gardens on Sunday September 9.

The meeting on Sunday followed the recent attempted abduction of a 10-year-old boy outside Eisleben Road Primary in Rocklands on Wednesday September 5 and the abduction of a 22-year-old woman in the Town Centre on Thursday September 6 at 6.45am.

Police spokesperson, Constable Wesley Twigg, confirmed an attempted kidnapping case was being investigated by Mitchell’s Plain police and Captain Ian Williams confirmed that the abduction of the woman was being probed by police.

Captain Williams said the woman was pulled into a car by three men and told to hand over her bag and cellphone.

The suspects then drove off with her on Baden Powell Drive, towards Muizenberg.

At the traffic lights close to Strandfontein Pavilion she managed to jump out of the vehicle and run away.

Captain Mario Jacobs, from Lentegeur police station, said an attempted hijacking case was under investigation after a woman and her daughter, 8, were almost hijacked by four men in a Toyota Quantum in Weltevreden Parkway, Rondevlei, on Friday September 7.

At Sunday’s meeting, the crowd vowed to take the law into their own hands , saying their cries against crime not being heard.

Mishkaah Keraan, from Tafelsig, asked parents how long would they stand by as their children were sucked into gangsterism, drugs and prostitution.

“Enough is enough. The merchant is taking over. The gang leader is taking over. You are eating out of the hand of the merchant. Hulle gee vir jou geld om jou bek toe te hou,” she said.

She said parents knew who the drug dealers were and where drugs were being stashed and she called on parents to take back their authority and care for their children.

“We cannot just fall down and allow these gangsters to take over,” she said.

Ms Keraan said women, who were at home, should mobilise and talk to each other.

She said: “Get yourself a whistle. If something is happening in your street, blow that whistle. Moenie jou gordyne toe maak nie en jou deur toe maak nie,” she said.

She said residents should meet and start in their road to look out for each other.

“Blaas daai fluitjie, if you see a mother being beaten up by her child because of drugs,” she said.

Theresa Smith, from Lentegeur, said: “Our parents are so scared of their children, they do not want to stand up against their children.”

She said adults should speak to the youth loitering on street corners.

“I tell them this is not the life we want to live because you can have a better life. They think the gangsters are kwaai.”

She said the root of the problem was parents not caring any more.

Jason Davis, from Strandfontein, said prayer was needed and that residents should start speaking to each other.

“I think the problem is the higher we build our walls, the more we disconnect ourselves from society and reality, and what is happening around us,” he said.

He said the youth stray on to the beaten path because there were no opportunities for them.

“We can’t point the finger to government,” he said, adding that we should ask ourselves what we can do to better the lives of our children and their futures.

Mr Davis said during apartheid people died for something better, for a dream they all shared but now that dream was dead.

Captain Williams said the community can help the police by co-operating with investigations and tip-offs can be given anonymously on 08600 10111 or by sending an SMS to 32211. All information will be strictly confidential.

He urged the community to join the community police forum (CPF), their sub-forums, neighbourhood watches and street committees.

Pupils, parents and teachers can also phone the Safe Schools call centre on 080 045 4647 to report incidents and get counselling and advice.