Finetown residents complain about police visibility

Police minister Bheki Cele helod an imbizo in Finetown, south of Johannesburg. File photo.
SO Bheki Cele Police minister Bheki Cele helod an imbizo in Finetown, south of Johannesburg. File photo.
Image: Antonio Muchave

“We know before we sleep there must be a gunshot to say good night.” 

So said Lucky Shobe, a Finetown resident who attended police minister Bheki Cele's imbizo at the Finetown multipurpose centre in Ennerdale on Monday. 

Crime in the Johannesburg south township came to the fore last month when seven residents were shot dead. 

Illegal guns, drugs and the conduct of police dominated discussions at the imbizo.

Shobe said the sound of guns was like fireworks in the area.

“You must always wear sneakers in Finetown, tied tight for you to run. Crime is rampant,” he said.

Another resident, Norman Norris, complained that officials had visited the area before but the situation remained the same.  

“Why are these issues only addressed now? Why must we always scream from the mountain tops before you listen to us? Why must we fight to get the services you must provide?” he asked Cele and officials who accompanied him.

Norris said residents should feel safe in their area.

“We cannot send our children down the street to buy bread because we are worried they will be robbed. You know where the drug dealers are, you focus on people using drugs. Get the drug dealers out of our communities,” he said.

Residents complained they are attacked in their homes and police don’t help them when they seek help or report crime.

They also complained about police who allegedly take bribes.

Cele said police are questioning a person of interest in connection with last month's shooting and the investigation was continuing.

“There are bad police and there are good police. That is why prisons are full, they are overpopulated,” he said.

“But we want to warn you that there are people who come here sent by criminals. You can't come here as an activist, as a member of the community and make a call [a war] against the police, you can't do that.

“You are giving space to criminals and putting the police against the community. Don't do that, please don't, I know you are angry. In three weeks when we bring the report we will have to bring structures where the community can report those police and I hope you are not sent by criminals to divert the issue,” he said.

Cele told journalists after the Imbizo there were many things police are doing to fight crime in the area.

“For example, I explained since we have been here after the first [incident], we have been here in this community, but even before that, this is one community that Okae Molao has been visiting long before that incident.

“We have been working with this community even after that has happened, after we have visited this community after they have put issues. We are bringing the report back as they have demanded that we must come back in two weeks,” he said.


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