A group of business owners in the Polokwane CBD are concerned about organised groups targeting them. The business owners say a store that is owned by foreign nationals was recently attacked by a group of men who were wielding pangas.
Two shop-owners of Pakistani descendent are recovering in hospital after they were attacked by pangas during a robbery. The Central Business District Business Association and local taxi associations have formed a coalition in efforts to root out crime.
Business owners in Polokwane say cases of crime are surging. They suspect a group of robbers that target vulnerable groups such as pensioners and women. They have formed an organisation where they work with taxi associations in an effort to trace the suspected criminals and fight crime.
Polokwane CBD reports increase in aggravated robberies:
The president of the group, Salman Hamid, says they have now become targets themselves for trying to fight crime. “We are fighting against crime. These guys are robbing the people. They are robbing the pensioners.”
Hamid says criminals have also stabbed some of the business owners, adding that “The biggest problem in South Africa is drugs.”
The Mankweng Taxi Association that is also working with local businesses to try and root out crime says they often capture suspected criminals and hand them over to the police.
Taxi queue marshal, Charles Sefoko, says they are worried that the criminals never get prosecuted and are released after a few days in jail.
“These criminals are doing this with impunity, they take money from people and we have to transport them home for free. They don’t go to jail.”
Limpopo police spokesperson Motlafela Mojapelo says they are investigating several leads relating to crimes targeted towards businesses.
“We have had incidents where businesses were attacked and criminals just got to the shops and started attacking the owners as well as the customers, stealing some goods and so on. We have launched investigations, so we cannot say there is an organised group that is targeting businesses, so for now, we regard it as crimes that are being committed in the city of Polokwane but we have plans in place.”
The police say they are still investigating if there are possibilities of syndicates targeting businesses.
Last month Police Minister Bheki Cele released the crime stats which revealed a decline in the number of murders in Limpopo: