By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA – The fighting against drug peddling in Setsing Plaza is in danger of proving to be an exercise in futility, if what the hawkers who operate inside the plaza is anything to go by.
Members of the local hawkers’ association expressed these sentiments during a mass meeting on Thursday last week.
Association organiser, Lehlohonolo Mokoena told The Guard that the surging crime in Setsing plaza compromises the safety of customers.
“The situation requires customers to be more alert and vigilant. The SAPS must also deploy more personnel for to increase police visibility.
“Common crimes in Setsing include robberies of both businesses and persons, drug trade and theft but, police do not seem to be doing much about it. The SAPS is extremely slow to response to crime, probably due to understaffing. Their services in Setsing leave much to be desired.”
The meeting was convened jointly with Setsing Centre and other stakeholder agencies such as the SAPS, to hammer out ways to curb the mounting crime rate in the centre.
The centre’s manager, Hlamule Patrick Chaka, said Setsing Plaza had registered a notable increase in drug-related crimes since late last year.
“Robberies with aggravating circumstances have also increased in the centre. What is needed is the upgrade of the Plaza and more community safety awareness campaigns led by the SAPS and civil organisations,” Chauke said.
However, the SAPS says there is no significant increase of major crimes reported in the plaza. Police spokesperson Warrant Officer Mmako Mophiring says they have instead received many reports of ATM related scams.
“We warn our people to avoid asking for assistance from strangers when making withdrawals at ATM’s. It’s painful, especially for our senior citizens who are the main targets. We call on the community to work together with the SAPS to curb crime in the plaza ahead of festive season.”