TIME FOR CHANGE: Kensington and Factreton residents blocked Voortrekker Road for crime protest. Photo: SUPPLIED
TIME FOR CHANGE: Kensington and Factreton residents blocked Voortrekker Road for crime protest. Photo: SUPPLIED
CLASH: Bonteheuwel protest. Photo: SUPPLIED
CLASH: Bonteheuwel protest. Photo: SUPPLIED
PRESSURE: Bheki Cele. Photo: BONGANI SHILUBANE/INL
PRESSURE: Bheki Cele. Photo: BONGANI SHILUBANE/INL

The mense are gatvol and they are making their voices heard.

The last few weeks have seen local communities, terrorised by crime, mobilise in their streets.

In Kensington and Factreton two weeks ago, hundreds of residents shut down Voortrekker Road in a mass protest at dawn.

The area had been rocked by a series of shootings which had claimed four lives in just two weeks.

Gatvol of living in fear and being held hostage in their homes by armed skollies, they took a stand.

In a powerful display of unity and community, residents - young and old, male and female - and together with the Kensington CPF, took to the streets with placard in hand to make a statement.

They marched in masses to the local cop shop to deliver a message to Police Minister Bheki Cele: they want more SAPS... ASAP.

Days later, the wave of community frustration spilled over to another troubled area, Bonteheuwel.

And again, the mense stieked uit in their numbers - even oumas en kinders - from 5am to show how gatvol and desperate they are.

Unfortunately, things got ugly and there was a violent clash between residents and riot police on Jakes Gerwel Drive.

Stun grenades were fired at the crowd and three people were arrested in the confrontation.

But in the end, the people marched to the Bishop Lavis Police Station and got their message across.

Residents want police to urgently deal with “a small group of drug dealers and gangsters” holding the entire area hostage.

They complained of an increase in guns and drug peddling; residents are fearful of being robbed on their way to work, and of sending their children to school.

And they want the same thing: more police visibility.

Next Wednesday, it’s the turn of Bishop Lavis and Elsies to clean up their streets.

A group of 2000 mense are planning to shut all entry and exit points to Bishop Lavis, Valhalla Park and Nooitgedacht to protest against the crime level and the recruitment of child soldiers.

The #TotalShutDownLavis is scheduled to start at 5am, and is being organised by the Bishop Lavis Action Committee (Blac) and other community organisations.

Blac secretary, Victor Altensteadt, says Lavis is being overrun by The Disciples gang which also operates in the neighbouring Clarkes Estate.

“They are recruiting children as young as 14 for their drugs, robberies and smash and grabs and we don’t feel enough is being done,” he says.

Good luck to Victor and the residents of Lavis and Elsies.

The Daily Voice will be there to give your community a voice.

And we urge other media, neighbourhood watches, CPFs, police and ward councillors to attend this, as well as future community marches.

Come together, join your neighbours, make your placards, raise your voices, march in the streets and show government that what is happening in your community is not acceptable.

The more protests of this nature are staged in this province, the bigger impact it will have.

But please mense, keep it peaceful, ne?

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