By Loushe Jordaan Gilbert
Out of desperation to end crime and bring an end to the sporadic incidents of shootings and murders in Hanover Park, religious leaders said they are forced to take action as the South African Police Service [SAPS] are failing them.
The Imam of Masjidun Nur in Hanover Park, Moulana Yazeed Benjamin said religious leaders and community members had a report back meeting on Sunday discussing the challenges they face and engaged on a way forward.
“The leadership thought that it would be best to gather the community and discuss the issues head on. Initially the meeting point was Freedom Square, but because it’s so isolated, we changed the location to what is known as “the back streets”,” he said.
Benjamin said it was heartbreaking to see how divided the community was and how they lost sight of the bigger picture.
“Our people are doing things for name and fame, it’s not about the crime or the murders or even innocent children being shot and killed, it has become about people and their egos. We are too fixated on what the one person is doing that we forget that working together can actually bring about change,” he stressed.
Benjamin encouraged the community to change their mind set, if not for themselves, but for the next generation.
“We need to change what is happening in our community. As religious leaders, we have the power to instill great values into the younger generation, and we are essentially responsible for paving the way for them,” he emphasised.
Benjamin sent out a strong warning to the perpetrators of various crimes, stating that they [the community] will restore peace in the area.
“If SAPS don’t intervene, we will go to the homes of the bad elements in our community and we will personally take them to the police stations so that SAPS is forced to do something. We have already been to the home of two suspects involved in the shooting of a little girl and we made it very clear that the community won’t take this lying down, we will force SAPS to do something because they continuously fail us and so does the justice system,” he added.