Residents of Orange Farm in the south of Johannesburg have given police management seven days to respond to a list of demands or face further action. High on their list is the police’s handling of cases that involve child kidnappings and missing persons.

Residents today marched to the local police station to agitate for the removal of the station commander, accusing her of inefficiency. They also want police to immediately start investigating when a missing person’s case is reported, instead of being told to wait for 24 hours.

Orange Farm residents say they’ve lost faith in the police at their local station and have threatened to take the law into their own hands. They say the police have failed to resolve numerous cases of murder, rape and kidnapping in their community.

Community anger has been reignited by Tuesday’s attempted kidnapping of a child in the area, just days after two children, aged six and eight, were found dead in extension four.

They marched to the police station to demand action. The protestors say they’re particularly disappointed with the station commander because they expected her to take a hard line on crimes targeting women and children.

“Enough is enough, we’re not going to take the law into our own hands because the police are failing. Bheki Cele must come to Orange Farm because there’s a crisis here. He must leave alcohol alone. The problem is that we’re being killed. Because I drink alcohol doesn’t mean I must be killed. We plead for protection from the police,” says on protestor.

“Our children are now confined to playing in our yards. They can’t play in the streets because they’ll be kidnapped and killed. We’re really scared now, but the police are sitting and doing nothing because they’re useless.”

Residents say they’re often told there are no resources, but the station was surrounded by many vehicles and a heavy police presence when the community marched to hand over their memorandum.

One of the community leaders, Penuell Maduna, says apart from wanting the station commander removed, they’re also demanding the reopening of all unresolved cases of murder, rape and kidnapping.

“Brigadier Ndaba must step down and all police officers, and the second issue on that memorandum is that we’re demanding that police must take immediate action when cases of missing persons are reported. They must stop telling people to wait for 24 hours, because while you’re waiting for 24 hours, your child is being killed, and police are not doing anything. We’ll be compiling a comprehensive report, with every case that has even been reported in Orange Farm, that has not been resolved. Right here we have people whose children were raped, killed, but nothing was done.”

Deputy Provincial Commissioner for Policing Tommy Mthombeni accepted the memorandum.

“On behalf of the provincial management for Gauteng,  I herewith receive the memorandum. As you indicated that we have to address the issues in the memorandum, and we will address the issues within the memorandum with the provincial commissioner,” says Mthombeni.

Maduna says there’ll be further action if the police leadership doesn’t address their concerns within seven days.

“I think it’s important to note that the Deputy Provincial Commissioner was here representing the provincial management committee, and they received the memorandum. So, now we’re sure that our concerns are with the provincial management committee. We’ll be taking further action should they not respond to our concerns within seven days. We’ll be organizing a provincial march whereby the entire Gauteng will be gathered here at Orange Farm Police Station. And that day, we’re not going to disperse until our concerns are addressed,” says Maduna.

The community says all they want is to be taken seriously when they open criminal cases and for the police to protect them from the criminals.