By Gift Radebe
The community of Kwa-Thema have had enough. Ever since 2022 started, our police station has become an administrative center where documents are certified, rather than a place where crime is tackled. The Police station has up to 10 police officers all assisting those looking to certify documents rather than attending to the community’s struggle with crime. On weekends we see police vans patrolling taverns and night clubs, but the talk on the streets is that the agenda of Police patrols is not to fight crime, but rather to take bribes so that these clubs can run all night long without following the law. Kwa-Thema has a become a hotspot of crime and this year we have experienced many brutal deaths. Many are now saying that crimes is rising because our police are part of corruption not part of stopping corruption.
The community of Kwa- Thema are now living in fear and are constantly asking themselves: “who is next?”
As the local MACUA branch, we decided to call a community meeting to discuss the rising crime and drug abuse in the community. The community has now agreed to reintroduce the old practice of using ‘impempe” (whistle) which will indicate danger and the community will come in numbers to help.
Many in our community are saying that the police and political parties have failed us as they are part of corruption themselves. To make matters worse, the political parties’ leaders are killing each other for positions, the police are taking bribes from night clubs and thugs are selling drugs”. Said one angry resident “This is the first time we experience brutal killings happening in such numbers. Ever since our police station is not fully functioning, shocking deaths of people, car hijackings and house robberies have escalated to a new level of ‘it is becoming a norm’ in our community”, said a community member.
“Since the police are failing to deliver on their mandate of protecting the public from criminal elements, the community have given themselves a mandate to protect themselves through organizing themselves. The community has said that self-organisation is the way to finding peace and living without fear.
“We do not know when our police will deliver and we cannot sit and watch our people being murdered whilst we can come together and organize for peace and community safety”