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An unrehabilitated mining site in Douglas has become a haven for criminals and desperately needs to be made safer for residents of the respective informal settlement.
The mass of dens in the excavated area, which is also in close proximity of a tavern, are used as rooms for indecent acts, for drugs and even for rape (see pic here). A single mother, who lives across from the area, frequently hears the chilling screams of young girls being violated. She fears for her and her children’s safety and is helpless to do anything about the criminal acts taking place in her front yard. Worst of all, she doesn’t even feel like she can trust the police, so instead of reporting likely crimes, she maintains her silence.
The Democratic Alliance (DA), in conjunction with other community stakeholders, is in talks with the police to push for greater police visibility in the area, to deter would be offenders. We have also written to the Acting Police Commissioner, Major General Joey Kers, to report the matter, coupled with the general sense of distrust of the police by the community.
The police alone, however, cannot be expected to combat the many untold crimes at the site - local government also carries a responsibility to its residents.
The Siyancuma municipality, however, has outright failed to adopt a whole-of-society approach to crime and it has made no effort to take back the public space that is now overrun by drug lords and criminals who prey on vulnerable girls and women.
When tackling crime, municipalities must specifically take on the conditions that enable the crime to take place. Our number one proposal therefore is that the site must be rehabilitated. Given that rehabilitation may take some time to effect, we are also proposing better lighting and the use of a drone to monitor the area on an ongoing basis. It is also important that the local neighbourhood watch is better supported.
The DA will table our proposals in council. Siyancuma residents deserve a municipality that gets things done and that makes communities safer. They deserve a DA run-government that wants everyone to be and feel safe.
Issued by Cllr Siyancuma Municipality Lemfvia van Niekerk