Maboneng safe but not safe!

Safe but not safe. The Maboneng Precinct has been celebrated as vibrant and chic place to live or chill but latest stats reveal Jeppestown that is only a stone throw away from each other, is crime-ridden.

This week a very disturbing picture was painted were Jeppe police station in the 2017/2018 annual provincial crime stats revealed that 125 murders were committed in Jeppestown and its surrounding areas.

The station covers areas such as Maboneng Precinct, Bezuidenhout Valley, Doornfontein, Bertrams and Kensington. The station also services George Goch and Wolhuster hostels which are notorious hotspots.

Jeppe Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Zola Dambula said the high rate of murders could be attributed to the ongoing taxi-related feuds.

“We have been able to establish that the murders in this area are between people who know each other and those who live in the hostels. But we also find that people were murdered for other reasons as well,” Dambula said. He said Bezuidenhout Valley was a hijacking hotspot, and the CPF had taken measures to decrease the number of incidents.

“Sometimes people are not careful enough and this leads to them being hijacked. They are not aware of their environment and become easy targets, especially at night or early hours of the morning,” he told Sowetanlive.

Malibongwe Sithole, a former member of the Jeppe Sector 1 Crime Forum, put the blame on the very same policemen who either are involved in crimes or know the criminals.

Sithole, who sits on the Kwa Mai Mai market committee, questioned why the neighbouring Maboneng Precinct was well policed but not the rest of Jeppestown.

“Police don’t want to confront their friends, the criminals. When you call them to attend to crime scenes, they don’t arrive on time.”

Such statements do not bring hope that crime could be reduced in the area, as much as in the country.

Only last week, the minister of Police Bheki Cele described the situation in SA ‘a war zone’, after releasing the crimes statistics.

The national murder rate was up 6.9% on last year. There were 20336 murders compared with 19016 in the year before. Jeppestown leads the pack in terms of murders in Joburg. It was also in the country’s top 30 murder precincts.

Gauteng police commissioner Lieutenant-General Deliwe de Lange told Gauteng safety portfolio committee that over 200 murders were committed during mob justice incidents, over 100 murders were due to taxi-related matters, 23 illegal mining, and 12 farm murders.

Provincial crime registrar Brigadier Mpho Chakalane said police found that women who walked alone late at night and in the early morning were soft targets for criminals.

Honeydew police station, which caters for Northriding, Strydom Park, and Randpark Ridge recorded the highest number of house robberies committed in Gauteng with 360 cases reported. This was 6.8% increase from the 337 in the previous financial year.

“Most of the house robberies were committed between 00:00 to 6am…,” she said.

Like hijackings, she attributed house robberies to organised criminal syndicates.

Jeppe Police spokesperson Captain Richard Munyai dismissed any suggestions that police were either complicit in crime or unwilling to do their jobs.

“If residents have information about corruption, they are always welcome to report the matter at the police station,” he said

Munyai said police were deployed across all the crime hot spots in the area and that all patrol vehicles were fitted with tracking devices to ensure police did not leave their patrol areas.

He added the police were working with the local crime prevention forums. “I am surprised somebody can suggest that police are not visible. We meet on the first Thursday every month with CPF members to discuss ways to improve policing.”

Munyai said the office of the community policing forum chairperson was based at Jeppe police station to attend to grievances from the public.

He added informal settlements and alcohol outlets contributed immensely to murder and general crime.

As the saying goes- suffer us children of lesser mortals…

The Maboneng Precinct, recently has been celebrated as world-class, livable and chic space that attracts local and international tourists, according to Forbes magazine, having outmuscled top Cities Paris, New York and London.

Gauteng Tourism acting CE Yoland Ruiters expressed pride and joy over the achievement.

“This is no mean feat for a neighbourhood that until not-so-long ago was suffering urban decay and seen as a crime hotspot,” she said.

As the saying goes- suffer us children of lesser mortals…

My advise always be on the look out- we’re not safe in our own country, finish & klaar!

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