Gangsters torch crime fighter’s home

A room torched during the attacks.

Last year the number of burglaries and muggings in Ext. 11 soared, but the under-resourced police force found themselves without any assistance from the community.
This year, when residents once again fell victim to cell phone and other theft, rapes and stabbings, the Peri Peri volunteer community protection group intervened.
According to Lucky Lerefolo, the deputy chairperson of the crime-fighting group, their aim is to work with the police, the community policing forum, Public Safety and other stakeholders to combat crime.
‘The community developed trust in us and called us whenever they had crime-related problems,’ says the fearless member.

To date, they’ve solved approximately twenty theft cases where stolen goods were returned to the community members.

However, on the night after the recent service delivery protest march, they felt the wrath of gangsters aged between 14 and 16 after the crime-fighting group successfully protected the tuckshops of foreign nationals.
Police arrive at the scene three hours late
Lucky says the gangsters torched one of their members’ houses and broke the windows of two other houses in an act of revenge.
‘We did not even receive any support from the community because they were scared these thugs will burn them inside their own homes. To make matters worse, the police only arrived three hours later,’ he said.
He dispelled a rumour that they are taking the law into their own hands.

‘We would never discipline anyone without permission from their parents. There are cases where we discipline kids so they go back to school and do not join the gangs. Even during this women’s month, there are women who are being abused, beaten up and stabbed. We have assisted by disciplining the perpetrators with the permission of the victims. Thereafter we called the police to enact arrests,’ he said.

Lucky says despite the setback, ‘we will never tire, irrespective of the problems we have, we are united and even stronger.
‘We have managed to wake up the police because they have been relaxing and not doing their work,’ he said.
More police officers needed on the ground
Lucky has a number of suggestions for the police, including setting up satellite police stations or mobile police stations in remote areas. ‘The services should be brought closer to the community.

Imagine having to travel kilometres to go report a crime, the criminals would be gone already.

They are always complaining about a shortage of vehicles because of mechanical problems. They should have them fixed. There should be more police visibility in the streets, every day. We want more officers on the ground,’ he said.
Please assist with donations
The deputy chairperson of Peri Peri is appealing to local businessmen and the community at large to assist with donations to benefit the members who were recently affected by the attacks.

One member of the group lost some belongings.

‘We are pleading for assistance for members who lost their belongings, including windows and clothes. One of the rooms that were burned down housed children.
‘Our intention is to cover the whole of Ikageng and protect the community from crime,’ he said.
To get hold of Lucky Lerefolo and assist the families that were targeted by gangsters, please call him on 073 117 2431.

Selogile Leshage

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