In Ikemeleng, our organisation BuaMC – Kgetse ya Tsie Monitors are focusing on the high crime rate. Much must be done to stop crime but we are campaigning for the increase in the number of high mast lights immediately.
South Africa has a very high rate of crime. This crime comes from the 100’s of years of racial oppression and inequality between white and black, the rich and the poor. Today it is fuelled by massive unemployment.
But we have to survive today. Our lives are a misery with daily robberies, attacks on women and murder.
In poor communities the municipality uses high mast lights. These are very tall poles with a powerful light that covers very large areas. This is not the best, but it gives us protection.
“ Having high mast lights turns a dark night to a day due to its brightness” as Mama Ndlovu said. “ Our communities with high mass lights do not only enjoy the bright nights as if its full moon everyday but because it helps lessen criminal activities” .
Ikemeleng is mining community located 7km outside Rustenburg CBD. It is registered as ward 35 under Rustenburg Local Municipality, situated within five mining companies named AQPSA, Anglo America Platinum, Glencore Xstrata, Lanxess ad Samacor Western Chrome mine. The community is comprised mostly by mine workers and people seeking employment in mines in and around the community.
This community like most in South Africa is not immune from crime, not only because it is a mining community but because it overpopulated, clustered with shacks which mushroom over night, street vendors, animals and children roaming around the streets.
Just on the 11th July the community experienced yet another tragic incident where two men were shot dead on their way from work.Had there been high mass lights the community members would have possibly identified the killers and helping with the case.
Ikemeleng has only two high mass lights and are all installed on one side of the community. Due to this one sided installation the dark side of the community experiences more crime.
As Kgetse ya Tsie members we took it upon ourselves to enquire at the local Police station as to what are they doing to prevent crime and our community and the local municipality about their plan regarding the matter. The police responded by patrolling the community everyday between 7pm – 4am. They became visible after our member engaged with them. The municipality promised installation of 11 KV bulk supply as a temporarily joined to the substation through the community and this will be done on the 8th November 2015.
Ikemeleng is like a labour warehouse for the mines. It is here that they store their workers. It is here that they keep their cheap casual labourers to be used when they want to. So the 5 mines must take responsibility for this. Mining houses always put their budget into their own pockets instead of developing the community.
Mining houses always take us from pillar to post when we make a request.When we asked them about helping with lighting to prevent crime, their response was that they need a proposal from the municipality or community leadership.
Our municipality and police force are paid by the people to serve them. But they always appear to have some other priority than our needs.
Sithole Mzalba who is a community resident reckons that “the Local municipality, Public Safety and South African Police Services should put the community’s safety as a first priority, and at least install 6 high mass lights”
We wait in great anticipation for the 08th November to see the municipality promise unfold or rather we say brighten our community, and the SAPS patrolling should continue.
by Buti Botopela, Steven
Ramokhula, Andile Mswazi and George Jacobs