Residents of Eldorado Park, Diepsloot and Westbury in Johannesburg, are once again living in fear of their lives, following yet another upsurge in gang related violence. On Friday last week four people were shot and killed in an alleged gang related attack – the latest of such attacks in as many months.
The communities of Eldorado Park and Westbury have once again become a playground for violent gangs, battling for control to peddle illicit narcotics. Following the recent murders of four people in Westbury, residents say they fear of their lives.
“Coming into our areas and having boats and expedition of what SAPS has to offer doesn’t mean that protection is in place for our communities. It’s sad and worrying that it’s almost become the norm. We are mirroring the Cape Flats at this stage, and we can’t have Gauteng become another Western Cape. The criminals have become so…because they realize they have free reign to gun down someone in broad day light on foot,” says Dereleen James, Community member.
Video: Gang Violence – Eldorado Park and Westbury residents speak about rampant crime and gangsterism
In Eldorado Park disgruntled residents have blamed the justice system for allowing gang violence to continue in the area.
“Today what I see is very sad. There has been no development for our kids. They have no jobs, there is no centres to go so they revert to drugs, prostitution, they rob, they steal,” says Feroza Patience, of Action SA.
“Our swimming pools, I think as you can see the gates are closed behind me and this contributes to what is happening in our community because our children have nowhere to go. Even our stadium is been vandalized nothing is happening,” says Lydia Thomas, Ward 17 Committee Member: Sports and Recreation.
More than 20 people murdered between January and March this year in Diepsloot. Residents have blamed this on a lack of police visibility and an increase in the number of undocumented migrants.
“In the past two weeks 12 people died at the hands of criminals, that is why we want to apply for a legal march, while we are waiting for the process of the Office of the Presidency to unfold and do their work,” says Loyiso Toyiya, Community member.
They say crime has spiralled out of control to the extent that residents are being attacked and even killed on an almost daily basis.
“We are dealing with people who have declared a war against the community of Diepsloot, just two days ago a man of the family was gunned down. They shot him with four bullets that shows you the intention of these people is not only to rob but to go on a killing spree,” says Lefa Nkala, CPF.
National Police Minister, Bheki Cele and Gauteng Police Commissioner, Elias Mawela have deployed the Anti-Gang Unit affected areas, in an attempt to quell the violence.