Community must co-operate to fight crime in town

I HAVE been astounded by the rate of crime in Somerset East.

I was disturbed on Monday morning to wake up to news that a young woman had allegedly been raped before being brutally murdered on Sunday night. The body was found in the vicinity of Johnson Nqonqoza High (JNHS).

Are our schools not meant to be communal centres of upliftment?

Are we, as a community, not supposed to embrace these institutions and uphold their dignity?

Were these institutions not placed at our doorsteps for us to take ownership of them? How are we treating our schools as communities that surround them?

Why has it become so easy for criminal elements to target our schools? I am not referring to JNHS in particular, because even in Aeroville we are faced with the same predicament of the high school being a breeding ground for criminal elements.

The brutality just brought back pain experienced in our branch just a month ago when yet another young person, a male this time, was found murdered in Aeroville and tied up with wires! We are a community with an estimated population of 36000 and we should be moving towards sharing the same vision bound by unity and love.

As a community we have been contributing to this scourge with our silence and we are equally to be blamed!

The hurt and pain endured by the families is so unbearable and even when I led the ANC branch leadership in visiting the family in Aeroville, we couldn’t hold back our tears. Hence Monday’s news were just too much to handle.

One wonders what kind of society have we become? We are celebrating 20 years of democracy and yet are being turned into a society living in fear instead of enjoying freedom!

Crime is not only a police matter, never was and never will, but a societal matter. I am branch chairman of the ANC, which was founded to be a societal organisation, and we would be failing the very same organisation if I did not stand up against these societal ills!

It is high time that we start leading the community and society! As the ANC Ward 2 branch we call upon all the community members to stand up against crime and not wait till you are personally affected.

Let us start having a dialogue and look at all our contributing factors, maybe even I am contributing! The ANC Ward 2 branch commits itself to organise, lead and host a youth dialogue on crime at Aeroville High School as part of human rights celebrations on March 21, and all members of society are invited to participate.

I am a young person who is still proud of this democracy but saddened when criminal elements constantly threaten the plight thereof. South Africa is “alive with possibilities”, but dying at the hands of someone else is a violation of the constitution and human rights.

Luvuyo Lonwabo Bayeni, ANC branch chairman, Ward 2, Blue Crane Route Municipality

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