Eight suspected criminals who have allegedly been terrorising residents of Seshego and neighbouring townships learnt the hard way on Sunday when disgruntled members of the community took to the streets in large numbers and apprehended the alleged gang groups associates who were later handed over to the Police.
The day started with a community meeting at Kings Complex in Zone 3 before groups of residents dispersed to various areas in search of the alleged troublemakers. Eventually eight suspects were reportedly apprehended and handed over to the Police on the same day. The suspected criminals who were caught were allegedly put in the back of a light delivery vehicle which drove around the area while residents allegedly beat them severely. It was learnt that the exercise is one of the mechanisms the community intends to use henceforth to fight criminals in Seshego and surrounds.
When Polokwane Observer arrived in Seshego early in the morning, Seshego Circle Centre, shops at Kings Complex and tuckshops were not operating as businesspeople had joined the meeting. The first suspect, a youth who allegedly assaulting his grandmother demanding money, was apprehended by residents in Zone 5 while others were arrested in extensions 71, 44 and 45, Makgofe and Seshego. According to Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) Provincial Leader Jossey Buthane, the eight suspects were handed over to the Police after what he described as “citizens’ arrests”. He stated that drug dealers were next on the list as nyaope and other types of drugs were among the factors contributing to crime.
It was reported that there are parents in Seshego who sell nyaope with their children and such families were noted down. Buthane applauded residents for coming out in their numbers as he mentioned that they would continue with the exercise until Seshego was clean of criminals. He said thugs don’t have a place in the community and reiterated that criminals have options – is either they hand themselves over to the Police or leave the communities in peace.
Provincial Police Communications Head Motlafela Mojapelo, however, said no one had been handed to the Police to which Buthane responded that Mojapelo was becoming a problem because he was the one who claimed that the gang group called ‘Burial 13′ did not exist.
Mojapelo indicated that community members of Seshego had converged at Kings Complex in Zone 3 to discuss crime and drug-related activities in the area. A similar meeting was held at Makgofe village in the same area, he explained. Different speakers indicated that they had to hunt down all suspects as well as nyaope boys terrorising the community of Seshego and hand them over to the Police, according to Mojapelo.
“According to social media reports, the initial plan was to march to the local Police station but due to the heavy deployments of Public Order Policing (Pops) members at strategic points, they then apparently resolved to instead gather at Kings, Zone 3. Pops members were also deployed at the venue to monitor the situation,” Mojapelo said.
After the meeting community members indeed went to various places under Seshego policing precinct, especially to extensions 71, 44 and 45 that are situated in the periphery of Seshego township, looking for the people they suspected of being part of a group of people terrorising the community, Mojapelo remarked.
Shops at the mall at Seshego Circle was closed for business the entire day as the owners apparently took precautionary measures, but the Police were sufficiently deployed and ready for any possible looting.
There was no violence that necessitated Police action and no cases relating to the protest were reported, according to Mojapelo. The management of Seshego Police Station and the community also held a meeting in which it was resolved to work together going forward, within the prescripts of the law, with a view of eradicating crime with all its manifestations in the area, Mojapelo indicated.