Pastor Philip Frans, of the Hangberg Education and Development Movement, is “disappointed” that last weekend’s anti-crime march was not well attended.
More than 100 people, including representatives from law enforcement, the traffic department and SAPS, took part in the march on Saturday April 22, calling for an end to gangsterism and drug dealing in the area.
Pastor Frans had hoped that thousands of people would answer the call to march against crime, as it had now reached a “critical” level.
“In actual fact, while the community was being addressed at the Hangberg Sports and Recreation Centre, a man was stabbed 300 metres from the venue,” he said. “Three hours after the meeting, another person was stabbed, and, of course, there was a shooting between rival gangs on Sunday morning.
“These incidents proved that the community are correct, and that crime is a serious problem in Hangberg. No community member is safe in our area anymore.”
The pastor had printed hundreds of flyers and engaged many people on social media to alert them to the march.
“I think I am particularly disappointed that a number of our own community leaders didn’t show up. I sent letters to 30 church leaders, and only one attended. I find that very strange. Creches and schools, whose children are bearing the brunt of the crime wave, were also invited, but we did not see them there. It was disappointing.”
Among their demands, marchers called for a satellite police station in Hangberg. Police representatives said that request had been made to the police minister, and was awaiting approval.
JP Smith, the City’s mayoral committee member for safety and security; and social services, called on the community to work together with law enforcement agencies.
One of the challenges facing Hangberg is that Metro police have not been welcome on the streets since the 2010 riots, when Metro police officers tried to remove shacks built on Sentinel Peak.
This led to violent clashes between com- munity members and police, with ten- sions simmering until a peace accord was signed in 2011.
“We are going to have to re-look the Metro police issue if we are serious about tackling crime. We need to sit down with all community leaders and get their input if we want to tackle the crime problem,” Pastor Frans said.