Bheki Cele to visit Westbury as residents' anger boils over

Minister of Police Bheki Cele.
Minister of Police Bheki Cele.

Police minister Bheki Cele plans to visit Westbury in Johannesburg on Tuesday in response to days of protests and the barricading of roads by residents who are fed up with crime in the suburb.

Cele’s visit comes after tensions reached boiling point. A Rea Vaya bus station was stoned and set alight in the area on Monday night.

“The City confirms that the Rea Vaya bus station has been torched‚ The buses will remain diverted‚” the City of Johannesburg tweeted.

Police and protesters have been clashing on the streets of the small community in the wake of a shooting last week. A 45-year-old woman was shot dead during a shootout between three men‚ while a 10-year-old girl was wounded.

Residents vowed to shut down the area to mourn her death and called on government to deploy the army to clean up the drug-ridden area.

Scores of people have been injured as violent scenes have played out. Police fired rubber bullets at the protesting crowds‚ who have over the last few days littered the streets with burning tyres and debris.

Meanwhile‚ the Economic Freedom Fighters in Gauteng announced that they would be meeting with the Gauteng police to highlight the plight of the Westbury community.

“We are going to demand the action plans by the SAPS in Johannesburg‚ Westbury to capture and keep in jail the murderers of the mother whose child was wounded during the Westbury gang street shootings recently‚” said EFF Gauteng chairperson Mandisa Mashego.

“The decades-old crimes in Westbury are extremely abnormal. The community of Westbury deserves better than the modern-day apartheid style absence of policing from this horrible government that is clearly not interested in protecting our communities. The police station of Sophiatown must get new police officers and a specially trained team to fearlessly deal with drug dealing in the province must be urgently sent to Westbury and other similar areas‚” Mashego said.

As this publication visited the streets of Westbury‚ residents had also called for new police officers as well as the army to be brought in‚ saying they had lost confidence in the police officers who were currently serving them. The residents accused police of corruption and not properly attending to the complaints of locals.

“We don’t understand the reason that known drug dealers and manufacturers can live among the people in Gauteng‚ terrorising the community and holding all citizens at ransom‚ under the full watch of the SAPS‚” Mashego said.

“A deterrent and simple message must be sent to all thugs‚ drug dealers‚ rapists‚ murderers and other deviants‚ that their time is up.”

Mashego said the EFF would also give attention to the Eldorado Park community‚ which it said faced similar problems in relation to drugs.

Police Minister Bheki Cele had a meeting with the protesting community of Westbury on Tuesday October 2 2018, where he gave community members the opportunity to air their grievances, and propose solutions as well.

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