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More patrols for Langermann koppies

The Jeppe SAPS will increase patrols in the Langermann koppies and other authorities will meet to discuss possible security measures. Although the EXPRESS has highlighted concerns, crimes and residents’ pleas for urgent action, the koppies remain a place of refuge for criminals and vagrants. Mrs Lornette Joseph, the chairperson of the I Love Kensington Association …

The Jeppe SAPS will increase patrols in the Langermann koppies and other authorities will meet to discuss possible security measures.

Although the EXPRESS has highlighted concerns, crimes and residents’ pleas for urgent action, the koppies remain a place of refuge for criminals and vagrants.

Mrs Lornette Joseph, the chairperson of the I Love Kensington Association (Ilka), said there are a number of vagrants living in the koppies and criminals are still targeting visitors and local residents.

“There was apparently a gang robbing people and tying them up with their own shoe laces. People are living in the caves. Youngsters go up to the koppies, play loud music, swear and pose a danger to themselves. The lack of lighting in the koppies poses a danger to people. Now that it is spring we can expect more problems,” said Mrs Joseph.

The koppies attracts a number of people interested in the history of Kensington, photographers who want to capture the Johannesburg skyline and other people who just want to view the natural environment.

However, several of them have been victims of crime. The EXPRESS previously reported that a woman and two men were approached by three criminals, held at gunpoint and robbed.

In a separate incident, a woman who lives close to the koppies was accosted by three men.

The EXPRESS also previously reported that two men, one of whom was in possession of a Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) firearm, were arrested in the Langermann koppies for attempted armed robbery.

In another article published in 2011, a resident said that crimes were increasing in the area and said he saw some of the dwellers break into properties to steal items of value.

He also said people were damaging the koppies by lighting fires. At the time, Clr Victor Penning, a Kensington resident, said that apart from intrusion into private properties, theft, excessive noise and drunk behaviour, dwellers were also burning electric cable insulation.

According to Clr Penning, some vagrants threatened to kill residents. They also threw rocks at residents’ homes.

Some residents began taking the law into their own hands by chasing the dwellers off the hill and burning the possessions left behind.

Mrs Joseph said local residents do warn people to be careful when visiting the koppies.

She also said the Jeppe SAPS no longer patrols the koppies with quad bikes like they used to in the past.

She said she understands fencing will be expensive but believes signage warning people of the danger in the koppies will help.

Former Jeppe SAPS station commander, Mr Danie Louw, also raised concern about the lack of fencing around the koppies in the past. He said he informed Clr Da Rocha and Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo (JCPZ) that there are no prohibition signs which would prohibit any activity in terms of the city’s bylaws.

He said this created a challenge with regard to the successful prosecution of criminals.

Last week, Clr Da Rocha said the Langermann koppies, as well as the other koppies in his ward, are a serious problem. He met with the JCPZ to discuss the problems recently.

“Possible solutions were discussed, but an oversight visit of weak points along the koppies will take place to determine if practical, sustainable solutions can be found to resolve safety concerns,” he said.

After the oversight meeting, a public meeting will be held to discuss the community’s concerns. Brigadier Govindsamy Mariemuthoo, the Jeppe SAPS station commander, said he will inform the sector manager about problems in the koppies and patrols will be increased.

“I will also instruct him to conduct stop and search operations. There have not been serious crimes reported to the Jeppe SAPS recently. We will, however, increase visibility,” said Brig Mariemuthoo.

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