A group of terrified residents from ward 99 in Windmill Park in Boksburg marched to the offices of the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department (EMPD) in Thokoza yesterday. They demanded the police stop harassing them and take action against criminals using vacant pieces of land in the area to rape and kill people.
According to community leader Thembelani Dyantyi, the community has been at odds with the local police for years because of their apparent lack of action following a number of killings in recent years.
“We, as a community, have a complaint of harassment and police brutality against the EMPD because we have been victimised by the police for coming out to try and stop the killings that are happening in our community as a result of these open pieces of land,” said Dyantyi.
He alleged that over the past five years, more than 25 people had died at the hands of criminals and not a single person had been arrested, leaving them in fear of their lives.
“Not even one person has been arrested by the police out of all these murders. You can even go and interview the families of the victims and they will tell you that the cases somehow vanish into thin air,” said Dyantyi.
One of the victims of alleged police brutality, Precious Ngcaba, who claimed she was recently hit by rubber bullets at a gathering over this matter, which police had assumed to be a protest, said she feared for her life.
The 23-year-old said she and her brother were walking on Barry Marais Road when they were harassed by the police. Her brother, Patrick Sekgota, was put in a police van and pepper-sprayed.
“After they took my brother, they started insulting me and asking me what am I going to do, before they started shooting at us with rubber bullets,” said Ngcaba who looked visibly shaken during the interview. She said the police had no right to shoot at them because they had been in a public space.
“They assumed we were protesting over this land but that was not the case. They had no business shooting at us,” said an angry Ngcaba.
Another community member, Arnold Fortune, warned that if the police continued to drag their feet, more people would fall victim to criminals.
Attempts to get comment from the Dawn Park police were unsuccessful.