NC community living in fear as violent crime surges
THE BARKLY West Community Crime Forum handed over a community crime prevention plan at the Barkly West police station and the Dikgatlong Local Municipality on Wednesday to highlight their concerns over the escalation of violent crimes in the area.
Community members also carried placards outside the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court insisting that no bail be granted to an accused who appeared for the murder of a 15-year-old boy.
The body of Thapelo Makaloi was found lying at the graveyard in Mataleng, Barkly West on October 17. He had sustained severe head injuries.
Preliminary investigations suggested that the deceased was assaulted and hit over the head with a stone or a brick.
Northern Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Mohale Ramatseba said on Wednesday that the 23-year-old suspect was arrested in Barkly West shortly after the murder on October 17.
“The case was scheduled to appear in the Barkly West Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday, October 28. The matter was postponed until November 9 for a formal bail application,” said Ramatseba.
He added that about 50 people participated in a march that proceeded from the court building to the Barkly West police station, where a memorandum was handed over to the station commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Cornelius Roman.
“The memorandum posed some questions regarding crime, which will be responded to within the seven-day period of request. Anyone with any further questions is welcome to address them with the station commander on 082 495 5018,” said Ramatseba.
The spokesperson for the Barkly West Community Crime Forum, Christopher Minnies, said that violent crimes and drug abuse were rampant in the community.
“Community members are no longer reporting crimes as they have lost faith in the justice system. This is affecting the accurate reporting of crime statistics,” said Minnies. “Robberies, rapes, stabbings and murders are increasing daily. People fall victim to crime while crossing the intersection between Mataleng and De Beershoogte at night. Youngsters addicted to drugs are robbing homes and selling valuables so that they can get their next fix.”
Minnies added that drug dealers were apparently tipped off before any police raids took place.
He stated that the forum would launch mini crime prevention groups in all seven wards of Barkly West.
“We have started with night patrols and neighbourhood watches and have warned drug dealers to shut down their businesses. As we rely on funding, each household will be required to donate R1 to assist with our petrol expenses.”
He stated that the forum would meet with the municipality and police on Friday, October 30.
“It is time to bring back law and order to our streets because crime is overtaking the community. A relationship of trust needs to be restored between the community and the police.”
Minnies added that they wanted to distribute whistles so that vulnerable members of society could use them to call for help if needed.
Two local women indicated that they were followed by two men who were driving a black BMW in Spitskopweg on Monday. They stated that the vehicle had no number plates. “By the grace of God one of the neighbours allowed us to hide inside her house whereupon the vehicle drove off. We were afraid of being kidnapped or used for human trafficking.”
According to the memorandum that was handed over, community members said they were afraid of reporting crime due to fear of victimisation.
“Too many dockets are filed as undetected while no proper investigations are done. Case dockets are withdrawn because outstanding investigations take long to be finalised.
“Crimes against children, women and the vulnerable should not even be considered as applicable for bail.”
“Most community members buy stolen property instead of reporting it. There’s no longer a ‘moral obligation’ to assist and support the SAPS in the fight against crime and other forms of social disorder.”