PLETTENBERG Bay residents are demanding action after a spate of aggressive and abusive behaviour by street children in Main Street.
Resident Karen Putzier has started a petition asking the Bitou mayor’s office to address the matter before someone is seriously injured or the problem drives visitors out of the town’s business centre.
Since the petition was distributed last week, hundreds of locals and visitors have signed the online and hard-copy versions, with many indicating they too had experienced the attacks – ranging from physical aggression to intimidation and being subjected to profanities.
Putzier said she was walking out of a bank with her teenage daughter when two street children asked them for money.
“When I said I didn’t have anything to give, they became aggressive, insulting me, calling me names and pushing us. When we eventually made it to our car they pushed me against the car door, shouting at me. I couldn’t get into the vehicle,” Putzier said.
She said an elderly man had then parked his vehicle next to hers and the children started harassing him.
“He couldn’t even get out of his car. My daughter, who takes the bus from school every day, says the girls on the bus are often subjected to horrible sexual remarks by these children.”
Resident Lara Ritchie said she had signed because she was threatened by street children while trying to get out of her car with her baby. Yolandi Badenhorst said she had been subjected to grossly inappropriate advances on many occasions.
A visitor from Australia, Mel Badenhorst, said she was harassed while on holiday in Plett.
Municipal spokesman Kholiswa Masiza confirmed the Bitou Municipality had received complaints about the children’s sudden aggressive behaviour.
“The law enforcement unit is working with the department of social services to curb the increase of street kids.”
Plettenberg Bay community policing forum vice-chairman Otto Olivier said criminals were using the children to help them to break into homes. Many of the children were using drugs like tik, fuelling their aggression. – Yolande Stander