Zwide residents form neighbourhood watch after robberies spike

Zwide Heights Neighbourhood watch members and SAPS, from left, Thulani Cumgcanywango, Fundile Sokutu, Captain Andre Beetge and Milile Nkoloti walk the streets of Zwide wearing new bibs on Monday
READY FOR CRIMINALS: Zwide Heights Neighbourhood watch members and SAPS, from left, Thulani Cumgcanywango, Fundile Sokutu, Captain Andre Beetge and Milile Nkoloti walk the streets of Zwide wearing new bibs on Monday
Image: WERNER HILLS

Criminals in masks are targeting Zwide workers early in the morning as they set off to work, residents have claimed.

As a result of the attacks, and increasing crime in the area, a neighbourhood watch has been set up.

A group of more than 60 residents formed the neighbourhood watch in June and regularly patrol the streets of Zwide to keep an eye out for criminal activity and make sure lockdown curfews are adhered to.

They also walk workers to the bus stop in the mornings to help curb crime in the area.

The Zwide Heights Neighbourhood Watch was officially launched on Monday, with  municipal officials handing over equipment including torches, bibs, whistles, sanitisers and face masks.

Alimise Kayiyana, 49, said crime was becoming unbearable with criminals not only robbing people on the streets, but kicking in doors and stealing people’s appliances.

“We have a serious challenge of drugs here in Zwide.

“The criminals use [the] Dan Qeqe Stadium to smoke drugs and when they are done they cause havoc in our society,” Kayiyana said.

She said the criminals were  not robbing people where they themselves lived, preferring to move into neighbouring areas to commit crime.

“We have decided as the community of Zwide to unite and beat them at their own game.

“We have divided into groups, so in all areas of Zwide there is a group of patrollers, and by doing that we believe that we are going to be able to fight these crimes,” she said.

Kayiyana said crime in the area had been going on for years and residents had been scared to stand up to it,  fearing they might be targeted.

“I don’t want to lie, at first the fear was there, but our numbers are growing rapidly and we have the full support from the community also,” she said.

Addressing those gathered at the launch, group chair Thulani Mcanyanwa, 34, said one of the contributing factors to the high level of crime in Zwide was the challenge of broken street lights.

“After we saw the rise of crime in our township we agreed that we must stand up and form this neighbourhood watch to patrol the streets,” he said.

He said the group was also making sure that residents adhered to the national lockdown curfew.

“We appreciate the support we received from the community and from municipal officials.

“We also plead with police to work with us in this fight,” he said.

Zwide Heights Neighbourhood Watch members receive vests, torches and whistles from the municipality on Monday
CURBING CRIME: Zwide Heights Neighbourhood Watch members receive vests, torches and whistles from the municipality on Monday
Image: WERNER HILLS

Nelson Mandela Bay council speaker Buyelwa Mafaya commended the group on the initiative and encouraged them to work closely with the police without taking the law into their own hands.

Police spokesperson Captain Andre Beetge welcomed the group and also advised them not  to confront criminals directly, but rather to inform the police.

“We love and encourage what you are doing.

“We also urge you to preach to the communities to stop with mob justice and rather go with how you’ve chosen to combat crime,” he said.

- HeraldLIVE 

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