By Lerato Ngwenya
Desperate times call for desperate measures. A community of Dieplsoot, have taken matters into its own hands by erecting a fence and two “access-controlled gates” in and out of the area, with the hope of preventing thieves from entering their neighbourhood.
The people of Diepsloot, are beyond gatvol, and erected a fence using metal sheets, poles, and wire fencing. It may not be fancy to those in the suburban areas, but to the township’s terrified community, the fences offer some sense of security.
The community also implemented a curfew, and the gates open at 06h30 and close by 19h00. They also have community members who patrol the area at night. Community members have to pay a R50 monthly protection fee.
Sphiwe Mkhwanazi from the Community Policing Forum (CPF) said that a protection fee is to pay those who patrol around the area at night, and for equipment like torches, reflectors and, batteries for the walkie-talkies. He said that the initiative to build up high fences and to protect their community came after in an incident where both parents were shot and killed in front of their children.
Although this initiative may seem to have brought a sense of security, some of the residents are singing a different tune to this system. Speaking to fray news, Lindokuhle Simelane, a resident in the community expressed his frustrations with these access controls. “I work the night shift and my hours are 14h00 to 23h00, the 19h00 curfew does not work for me.” He said he sometimes sleeps at his friend’s house who lives just outside Dieplsoot going to his house at 06h00.
Mkhwanazi said they are aware that this is not a perfect solution.
“You need to understand that such measures were put into place to protect our families. Yes not everyone will be fairly accommodated, however people must give this a chance as this is the first big project we have established,” said Mkhwanzi.
Violent crime is a usual part of life in Dieplsloot. Last month, a pastor was shot dead during a church service. Earlier this year, a resident of the area, Elvis Nyati was burnt to death by community members accusing him of a crime without proof.