By Everson Luhanga

Lefa Nkala, leader of the Diepsloot Community Forum, has been arrested amidst ongoing anti-crime protests by the community. 

Residents are urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to visit the crime-plagued Gauteng township and address their concerns.

Residents of Diepsloot have taken to the streets in a series of protests against rampant crime, demanding stronger action from law enforcement authorities. 

The demonstrations, marked by road blockades, the dismantling of stalls, and marches, have escalated in intensity over the past few weeks.

Police fired rubber bullets and stun grenades in order to disperse a small group of protesters that had gathered and kept on growing and gaining momentum. 

Last Monday evening the protest barricaded busy streets in the township with rocks and burning tires appearing on the roads. 

The following day, a significant crowd gathered, causing further disruption by dismantling and setting fire to stalls, and blocking the busy N14 highway, leading to extensive traffic congestion. 

In a show of frustration and anger, residents targeted suspected criminals and demolished shacks believed to harbour criminal elements. Some spaza shops were forced to close.

Last week a group of leaders drove to the Union Building in a bid to meet officials from the president’s office.

The leaders called on Ramaphosa to address the community directly. 

The residents expressed dissatisfaction with the response of the police, accusing them of inadequate efforts to combat the rising crime wave. 

Nkala pointed out that while crime had declined temporarily following the deployment of Tactical Response Team (TRT) members last year, recent months had seen a resurgence of murders, rapes, robberies, and armed robberies.

Some residents have even resorted to erecting their own fences to protect themselves from armed criminals.

Nkala was the only top leader of the Diepsloot Community Forum in today’s march. He had an altercation with the police prior to his arrest.

The authorities did not take chances as they discussed any grouping along the streets by firing rubber bullets and stun grenades.

Protesters highlighted their disillusionment with the justice system, claiming that criminals arrested and handed over to the police were often released without facing consequences. 

The community expressed a determination to take matters into their own hands, with residents marching through the streets armed with sjamboks, broomsticks, and stones.

The protests have gained momentum as more residents join the demonstrations, voicing their frustration and demanding a safer environment. 

Diepsloot residents stressed that their actions were driven by the urgent need to protect their lives and homes.

One of the residents, a former community police forum leader John Makola was shot and killed by criminals. John was trying to save a spaza shop owner who was being robbed and he was targeted by criminals. He later died and was buried this past weekend. 

The arrest of Lefa Nkala, leader of the Diepsloot Community Forum, added further tension to the situation. 

Pictured above: Diepsloot protests

Image source: Everson Luhanga


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