Turf wars bloodbath in Greater Westbury requires urgent intervention

Over the last few days, at least seven people have been shot, four of whom have died, in the greater Westbury region, which encompasses Newclare and Coronation. Despite this, there appears to be no increased level of policing in the area. This is unacceptable and more visible policing and investigative resources need to be placed in the community. If Sophiatown Police Station is unable to do this, resources should be brought in from elsewhere.

On Monday, the SAPS was called to the scene of a shooting only to arrive two hours later. Furthermore, according to members of the community, the SAPS then left, leaving the body of the deceased in the street and only returned four hours later with a mortuary van. This shows the complete inability of the Sophiatown SAPS to handle a murder crime scene. A scene should be protected and properly investigated for forensic evidence and any body should be appropriately removed as soon as forensics are complete. Leaving victims lying in the open is traumatic for family and community members.

The issue of drugs and gangsterism has been an ongoing issue in this community. Community members have previously protested against alleged inaction from the SAPS and some members of the police being in the pocket of gang lords. No tangible action has been taken in this regard.

The community are desperate for assistance and an acknowledgement of the severity of the problem. They feel as if they have been forgotten and that nobody cares. They are too scared to come forward with information as their families are threatened with violent repercussions should they do so.

Provincial Police Commissioner, Lt. General Deliwe de Lange, and Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, should, as a matter of urgency, petition the Police Minister for the re-instatement of the Specialised Gang Units to ensure crimes of this nature are properly investigated. This would be a priority under a DA-led government.

The continued lack of action by the ANC government in these matters shows they have no will to protect the people of Westbury/Newclare who are facing danger every day.