Lentegeur residents are concerned about their safety and that of their families after shootings have increased in the area this month.
While Lentegeur police station commander, Colonel Herman Seals, refused to divulge statistics of murders in the area during his first month at the station, he said two men and a woman were arrested on charges of murder.
More than 100 residents gathered at Lentegeur civic centre to meet Lentegeur police station management at an “imbizo” on Wednesday February 22.
Community newspapers, including the Plainsman, published notices calling on residents to attend the imbizo, meet with SAPS management, ask questions and raise their concerns about safety and security in the area.
However, the Lentegeur police spokeswoman, Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith, confirmed that the use of the word imbizo was a misunderstanding between her and Sergeant Booysen.
Cases of murder are being investigated after two teens were shot in Sunflower Road, on Saturday February 11 at 8.50pm (“Teens fatally shot,” Plainsman, February 15).
Last week, a 17-year-old boy was shot twice in the neck, shoulder and stomach; the 19-year-old, who was shot in the stomach, was taken to hospital, where he later died.
Similarly, two men were shot at in Marigold Street, in Lentegeur, on Sunday February 12, at 11.30am. Lentegeur police arrived at the house but the men had already been taken to hospital.
The officers found bullet holes in the door and projectiles on the floor. One man had wounds on his face and the other on his foot.
Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith, Lentegeur police station spokeswoman, said a case of attempted murder was being investigated.
She also confirmed at the time that the incident was gang-related and that no arrests had been made yet.
A man, 23, was shot in the leg in Nerine Street on Tuesday February 21.
A case of attempted murder is being investigated, no arrests have been made and statements are still outstanding.
Resident Raafiqah Ganger, also a member of the Lentegeur West Zone Sector 3 Neighbourhood Watch, said the community was told by the gangsters “hulle gaan bloed op tel”, that people are going to die.
“We need to rid our community of crime,” she said.
Ms Ganger called on her neighbours and fellow residents to stand up. “If we don’t stand up, we are going to lose our children, husbands and wives,” she said.
“We need to take it further. This is our community. We must say enough is enough. No more,” said Ms Ganger.
A father, from Blombos Street in Lentegeur, said he was concerned about his son’s safety and young people being involved or exposed to gangsterism and drugs.
A mother cried out for help, saying her son was too scared to go to school and that he knew his future depended on education.
Sergeant Darryl Booysen, Sectors 2 and 3 commander, covering Montrose Park, Lentegeur East and West, said the aim of the meeting was for him to introduce himself to the community.
Sergeant Booysen said he would report to newly appointed Lentegeur police station commander, Colonel Herman Seals, and discuss the need to meet with the community.
“I understand you (the community) came here tonight with burdens, but it is going to take time, we need to get to know one another and we need to work together,” he said.
“I am here to work with the community who wants to work with us,” he said.
Sergeant Booysen encouraged residents to have good relations with their neighbours.”You and your neighbour who is perhaps hiding their children’s misbehaviour or their being in trouble with the law, could gain strength from each other and (together)speak out against crime,” he said.
Sergeant Booysen added: “We should not support our children’s bad habits. Keep your child away from the merchant – he uses your children, they get addicted to drugs and they sell his drugs.”
He called on the community to draw a line in the sand and take a stand.
In a telephonic interview with the Plainsman, Colonel Seals confirmed there had been an increase in the number of murders in the precinct for February.
Colonel Seals, who took up his new post at the police station on Wednesday February 1, said the meeting was to introduce the sector commander as they had reduced the number of sector managers from five to three – a directive had came from SAPS provincial office to the clusters to reduce the number of sector commanders at stations.
He said station management would confirm a meeting with the community in the next two months.
“Lots of people have been calling me and tried to speak to me about certain issues but I need to direct them to existing structures, through which challenges can be channelled,” he said.
“Once people speak in the structures about their problems to their sector managers, then we’ll have positive results,” he said.
Colonel Seals said residents should report to the police station when their lives are in danger. He said the community should not wait for meetings but report crime and suspicious behaviour to their sector managers.
Residents can call their sector commanders with information, to report crimes, suspicious behaviour or if they suspect criminal activities on the following numbers:
Sector 1 commander Sergeant Bongile Lwanyana, covering Montclaire and Mandalay, on 079 894 1499.
Sectors 2 and 3 commander Sergeant Darryl Booysen, covers Montrose Park, Lentegeur East and West, on 082 378 9294.
Sectors 4 and 5 commander, Warrant Officer Anthony Appels, covers Woodlands, Morgen’s Village, Harmony Village, Rondevlei, Highlands Village, Wildwood, Vanguard Villas, London Village and Colorado Park, at 082 411 2408.