FRESH DETAILS: “We’re too scared to go there” – Police refuse to attend a murder scene in Diepsloot

FRESH DETAILS: “We’re too scared to go there” – Police refuse to attend a murder scene in Diepsloot

The weekend’s killings of two people and police’s alleged refusal to attend to one scene, citing danger, appears to be what sparked the shutdown in Diepsloot with the township descending into chaos over the past two days.

Lodrik Mbiza, the neighbour of one of the slain people in Diepsloot Ext 1, told Sowetan that a man in his 20s was shot dead during a robbery on Saturday night. Mbiza said he heard a woman calling his name on the night of the murder. Mbiza said he first heard people banging a shack in the same yard as his. He then woke up and got dressed but then he heard a gunshot being fired.

Gauteng police spokesperson Col Dimakatso Sello said there were two people killed in Ext 1. “There are two separate incidents of murder reported over the weekend for that area…” Sello said.

The provincial police also conceded that cases of murder “are showing an upward trajectory in Diepsloot”.

Mbiza said due to fear for his safety, he did not immediately leave his shack, which also operates as a salon.

He later discovered that his neighbours had been robbed and one of them shot.

“They [the family that was robbed] told me that they [the robbers] took cellphones, a television set and cash before shooting the young man. I do not know where they shot him because by the time I arrived, his mother had already covered him with a cloth,” Mbiza said.

He said the father of the young man was stabbed at the back of his right shoulder and was bleeding, while the mother was injured in the head.

Mbiza said he then called the police who said they were scared to come to that part of Diepsloot. He then decided to organise a van from a neighbour to take the body and the injured father to hospital. A police van was later spotted in the area and he and another neighbour asked for help.

“The father asked us to put on gloves and we did so and helped move the body into the van of one of the neighbours,” he said.

The family of the deceased left their shacks on Monday and has not returned, Mbiza said.

Mbiza, who arrived in Diepsloot in 2001, said the crime in the area has always been high but things have turned worse since January.

He said Diepsloot is fast becoming South Africa’s most dangerous township, that even police officers are too scared to visit some parts of the area.

“In the past they would find you on the streets, rob you and then kill you. But they have now started breaking into people’s shacks and robbing them at gunpoint,” he said.

Residents began blocking roads with burning tyres and rocks on Tuesday, and by Wednesday the protest drew the attention of even police minister Bheki Cele who visited the area.

Organisers of the protests said crime has reached unbearable levels and police are struggling to find those behind them.

Lefa Nkala, one of the organisers, said they believe the crimes have spiralled out of control because the people behind them are undocumented migrants that police cannot trace.

“Police must just help us to hunt these criminals. If they fail to do so, we will take the law into our own hands,” Nkala said.

The local councillor for ward 113 in Diepsloot, Abraham Mabuke, said crime has been a serious problem in the area since he joined local government in 2011.

“Since December, we have been experiencing a lot of murders in our community. These murders take place during robberies. These thugs come into people’s house and take what they want but what is sad is that they kill our people.

“When we spoke to [police] management they said they did not have enough personnel for the area and did not have enough cars. When we requested the police to give us the statistics, they told us the majority of the people that are arrested for the crimes are Zimbabweans,” Mabuke said.

Resident Josephine Mello said: “As residents we do not know how we are going to be safe. Thugs come into people’s homes at night and kill them. Our police officers are not enough to protect an area with so many people as in Diepsloot.”

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