2007-11-16 : Woodlands outrage at crime


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2007-11-16 : Woodlands outrage at crime

Postby GOSA » Tue, 2007-11-06 06:53

Woodlands outrage at crime
oTue, 16 Oct 2007

By Witness Reporters

AN urgent meeting of the Woodlands ward committee was to be held
last night to discuss ways to curb the rising crime trend in the

This while Deputy Mayor Mervin Dirks, a resident of Woodlands,
criticised communities who protect criminals and are
perpetuating the cycle of crime themselves.

Ward councillor Patrick Moon said yesterday that crime in
Woodlands has recently escalated.

"It is a grave concern of the community. Woodlands won´t
tolerate this." He said he joins the community in their shock at
Sunday night´s tragedy in which two women were killed in two
botched hijackings.

Dirks said crime is spiralling and drugs are available in the

"But the criminals are part of the community and residents must
not complain if they are harbouring the criminals and buying the
stolen goods that are offered for sale," he said, adding that
many criminals are protected by their parents.

"They start it in their own homes. When the police come for
their children, [the parents] hide them."

Dirks said that buying stolen TVs, radios and cellphones for
cheap prices means they "have blood on them".

"We need to make Woodlands a no-go area for criminals. I urge
the community to co-operate with the police. Mountain Rise
police station is doing a fantastic job now."

Dirks paid tribute to Elaine Anderson, saying that during her
time as a reporter and photographer, she covered rent boycotts
in the area in the 1980s. "She helped us take on the apartheid
regime and covered our struggles."

The residents of Woodlands have made a desperate plea to the
authorities that something should be done following the brutal

Fear was visible on many people´s faces as they talked of an
area that has been mercilessly turned into a ghost town. Many
residents spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of

Residents told The Witness that crime has become "terrible" in
the neighbourhood and that it is not people from outside who
commit these heinous crimes, but their own people and children.

"I have been broken into twice by the same person," said one
woman. "The first time the police came, but he was released and
he returned to steal again and my husband caught him for the
second time," she said.

The prevalence of drugs was another factor behind the crime
currently plaguing the area.

Michael Camp, priest at the Old Apostolic Church, where Anderson
was headed when she was killed, said yesterday he is still
coming to terms with the news of her death.

"This is a big loss, not because Elaine and I have known each
other since childhood, but because she was like my right-hand
woman at the church. She was secretary, she kept the church´s
books, [she was] a treasurer and a big hole has now been
opened," said Camp, who grew up with Anderson in what they then
called The Village, just outside the city centre.

"She was a mother not only to her family; that is why people
like her can never be replaced," he said.

James Arnot, chairman of the Claridge and Otto´s Bluff Property
Owners´ and Residents´ Association, said that he has brought
issues of safety on the Otto´s Bluff road to the attention of
the municipality countless times, and nothing has been done
about it.

"The lights on the road are inadequate for safety. Members have
been shot at and ambushed there. We find logs pulled across the
road and the road is totally unsafe."

Meanwhile, the DA has sent condolences to the families and
friends of Elaine Anderson and Patricia Kippen.

DA MPL Radley Keys said in a statement: "Having worked closely
with Elaine over the worst years of political conflict in the
´80s and ´90s, I developed an abiding respect and admiration for
her. We are the poorer for her passing.

"The rampant and excessively violent crime in our country has
robbed Woodlands, and indeed Pietermaritzburg, of two genuine
and committed souls ... The government must stop denying the
gravity of the crisis and deal effectively with it."

Published: 16 October 2007
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