Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
3 minute read
3 Aug 2022
4:02 am

‘We’re living in absolute fear’: Krugersdorp residents say crime always been a problem

Marizka Coetzer

The word on the street suggested some police officers were on the payrolls of the zama zamas and alleged Nigerian drug dealers.

A pedestrian walks past a man scavenging on uncollected bags of litter at the corner of Eloff and Van Breda at Krugersdorp. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

Krugersdorp residents are fed up with the crime and say they live in fear because phoning the police has never helped.

Nadia Steyn, who lives in West Village close to where the alleged gang rape of eight women happened last Thursday, said crime had been a problem for a while.

“It is not a new story. It is just sad that something like this happened before someone heard our cries for help,” she said.

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“Every week, we hear about rapes by the zama zamas in the area. People are gatvol. We have had enough.”

Steyn said they were without electricity for 13 days last month after power cables were allegedly stolen by the zama zamas.

“After the cables are replaced, they dig it out again the same night. To phone the police helps f***all.

“People see the police exchanging parcels with the zama zamas,” she claimed.

She said when the municipality replaced the stolen cables a month ago, a group of zama zamas stood across the road laughing at the workers.

Steyn said there were rumours that the zama zamas were being supplied with ammunition.

“As a woman, you cannot help to wonder when you are next; when will you be raped,” she said.

Steyn said she lived in a secure complex with an electric fence, but still worried about being attacked.

“You don’t dare walk to the spaza shop down the road. I won’t dare it. I would rather drive two blocks to the local shop.”

Another resident, Steve van Eeden, said Krugersdorp has become dangerous over the year.

WATCH: Krugersdorp gang rape: Seven more suspects arrested

“The Krugersdorp appointment murders; the Sunday rapist; and the Samurai killer come to mind. Not to forget the drugs and prostitution in Luipaard Street and now the zama zamas.

“In West Village, you hear at night how they blow dynamite for the illegal mining activities,” he said.

Van Eeden said the word on the street suggested some police officers were on the payrolls of the zama zamas and alleged Nigerian drug dealers.

Melodie van Brakel, founder of the Cradle of Hope, a safe haven for abused women and children, said she doubted the perpetrators were among the suspects arrested for the alleged gang rape.

“It’s sad that it takes such a big disaster, which will haunt the victims for life, to notice a problem,” she said.

“How many times have there been complaints about West Village? It has been years; the residents are being terrorised. Even Carte Blanche has done a story about it. People live in absolute fear.”

Van Brakel said houses were being broken into, the streets became unsafe after 5pm and she felt sick the whole weekend about the gang rapes.

“Not a day passes where there isn’t a body found or an incident reported. It is such a huge problem and no one cares. It took a disaster before they paid attention,” she said.

READ MORE: 17 more suspects arrested in connection to Krugersdorp rape, robbery

“I’m glad they arrested the suspect but those girls will have to live with this for the rest of their lives. What if they fall pregnant or get HIV?

“That is just the spinoff of what happened to them on Thursday.”

Van Brakel said it was sad that there has to be a big tragedy before people care and something happens about a problem.

“As a mother… I know what lies ahead for these women. It’s hell and it is super sad.”