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SOWETAN | Crime halts services to residents

File photo.
File photo.

Crime is becoming so common in our communities that nothing and no one is safe from it.

Take for example our report last week on some of the most dangerous areas in Gauteng for municipal technicians, who face escalating violence while carrying out their work.

These areas, according to two metros – Tshwane and Joburg –include Joburg inner city, Alexandra, Lenasia, Roodepoort and Soshanguve. Attacks on municipal technicians in these areas have been so prevalent that private security and police escorts are now required for them to respond to electricity fault callouts.

A female employee of the City of Tshwane said she was attacked five times in Jukulyn, Shoshanguve. She said she was shot at and her colleagues were pelted with stones. The incidents have left her so traumatised that she and colleagues are now scared of returning to the same area. What this effectively means is that these areas have become no-go zones for service delivery, leaving the most vulnerable in dire need of services in despair.

This is a concern that requires law enforcement and communities to work together to fight it.First, because the incidents should not be seen in isolation but part of crime in our society. Second, because the attacks are a community problem they need to assist the police to deal with.

Without the community’s help in identifying and isolating the criminals behind the violent attacks of municipal staff fixing electrical faults, it would be impossible to end the scourge. Law enforcers cannot police every street corner, but communities can.

Our municipalities are already overburdened by escalating costs of repairs to damaged infrastructure by vandals. This has dire consequences for residents such as an increase in the costs of services. If they were to factor in security costs, the real losers will be all of us who need these services.

We urge local community leaders to work with the police and establish safety plans for all municipal employees to carry out their work without hindrance. Enough is enough. We must not allow criminals to take control of our lives.

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