Irate Eldorado Park residents staged a sit-in outside their local Police station Monday night through Tuesday. The protest action comes in the wake of several shooting incidents that have angered residents.
Residents demanded action against rising crime, particularly the scourge of drug abuse and gun violence. Tuesday’s protest action followed prior action on Sunday, when Eldorado Park residents blocked entrances to the area.
Addressing the crowd that had gathered by Tuesday afternoon, MMC for Public Safety in the City of Johannesburg David Tembe said crime has plagued the Eldorado Park community for a long time. He said it was a “law enforcement” issue and urged cooperation with the community.
“We need to work with the community to ensure that we succeed in fighting the scourge of drugs. Our children are becoming zombies because they kill their parents; they took goods from their houses, and it is our responsibility as law enforcement [and] as the community to work together and get rid of the criminality,” he said.
#GunsDown campaign in Eldorado Park
In July, Eldorado Park residents marched to the Police station to hand over a memorandum of demands, among which was a call to remove the station commander. Residents said they have yet to see any progress since the initial march.
“It’s getting out of hand, and if we are not going to take a stand now, we might as well just be wiped out. It’s happening everyday [in] Lenasia, Westbury, [and] Eldorado Park. We are all equally affected and if we do not take a stand right now, then do we have a tomorrow?” asked prominent activist and founder of the #GunsDown campaign, Shona Buhr.
“As a young person, it’s constant fear… It’s constantly being vulnerable, it’s constantly being exposed and exploited. It’s not safe for any of us,” she said.
During Tuesday’s protest action, local media personality Charis Pretorious expressed concern over what she deemed poor communication between SAPS and Tembe’s office. It had been revealed that Tembe was unaware of the memorandum that was handed six weeks prior.
“When is the City of Johannesburg going to take the people of Eldorado Park seriously when it comes to service delivery and what it is that the people of this community deserve?” she asked.
Another resident echoed similar sentiment when she accused SAPS of being unwilling to work with Eldorado Park residents.
“I was under the impression that if we hand over a memorandum, it’s the responsibility of SAPS to go to the Department of Public Safety. Once again, this station in Eldorado Park has just proven together with its station commander that they have a total disregard for this community.”
Tembe said he had discussed the issues with SAPS and promised to draw up an operational plan. He added that his department would also engage Mayor Mpho Phalatse’s office on the matter.