Tafelsig residents are gearing up to take the fight against gangsterism into their own hands through street committees. During a community meeting at the weekend, residents decided that street committees will be put in place to monitor any suspicious activity and to work together with police to ensure the peace in their respective streets.
VOC News visited the area on Wednesday to understand the current living conditions of community members. Residents, most of who spoke under anonymity, said issue of gang violence is spirally out of control.
“The ‘hustlers’ are targeting their own neighbours, friends and families. Hard working people who travel when it is still dark outside are being robbed by these hustlers. We can no longer live in fear like this. Children are also being targeted. The hustlers are stealing their school uniforms. This is a community filled with people who are already very poor,” resident *Sheila Williams reported.
The local gangsters, referred to as “hustlers” by residents of Tafelsig are not only violently attacking members of their rival gangs but unconfirmed reports from residents suggest they are also attacking people who reside in the area of their rival gangs.
“Just last week, the hustlers robbed a few more people and we as neighbours just got tired of always being a victim and waiting on police to come and intervene, which is usually after the robberies takes place, we threw bricks at them to chase them out,” said another resident *Faldilah Jacobs.
“They ended up throwing bricks back at us. We didn’t give up but when they drew a gun and started shooting blindly, without a care for the children running around us, we had to pull back. They shot a boy of sixteen years old, through his thigh. People live in fear here.”
Weekly community meetings on Tuesdays will be held for street committees to give their feedback on their respective operations. Another concerned resident, *Munthir Arend said he had seen that his neighbour’s son was walking around with gangsters and began experimenting with drugs. Arend, along with other members of the street committee confronted the family and provided the necessary support for them.
“We as a community need to stand united against the social ills of our area. We can no longer rely on police, they don’t live here and don’t know the inner workings of the gangsters as we do. We must come together and take each child as our own. If we continue on this path, I see a brighter future for our community.”
Mitchell’s Plain police was approached for comment, but was unavailable. VOC (Ra’eesah Isaacs)
*names have been changed