Gangsterism rife in Mpumalanga as residents live in fear

Gangsterism is a serious threat and the number of young people who identify themselves as gangsters is increasing.

eMbalenhle residents have raised their concerns over the prevalence of gangsterism in the area, saying their lives are in danger as they are being terrorised daily by the alleged gangs, reports Ridge Times.

They no longer feel safe to go out, especially at night.

Locals alleged that the criminal groups have taken over the township and are causing havoc and disharmony.

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Gangsterism is a serious threat in the area and the number of young people who identify themselves as gangsters is increasing.

These gangs call themselves various names, such as “Weshe” and “Wrong Turns”.

Residents allege that the gangsters are between the ages of 16 and 30.

They are territorial, and when residents go to other sections, they are intimidated by these gangs.

Const Busi Mthethwa, a police spokesperson, said violent crimes in the area were a serious concern.

She said they have received information linking these crimes to gangsterism, however, it was difficult to get to the bottom of the matter since the residents were not forthcoming with information.

She said about two cases involving gang-related crime were opened.

In one incident, a motorist was parking his car near his friends’ house in Extension 18 when he was approached by a group of men armed with dangerous weapons such as pangas.

“He alleged that they forcefully opened the door and threatened to kill him if he tries anything. They then searched his vehicle and took cellphones, cigarettes, and money.

“It is alleged that the gang then damaged his vehicle. The windscreen and bumper [were] damaged.”

Police said in another incident, a group of friends were having fun outside when a group of men stormed the house.

The victims allegedly ran into the house and locked themselves in, however, the alleged gang managed gain access to the house through a window.

“They assaulted the group of friends and stole their belongings such as shoes, jewellery, cellphones, and money to the value of R2,500.

“The gang then fled the scene.

“We are calling on locals to cooperate with the police so that this kind of crime is dealt with swiftly.”

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