Community confront alleged drug runners in Wentworth
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Durban: Wentworth residents, angered by random shootings and drug dealings in the area, confronted alleged drug runners in their homes.
About 30 residents from Tifflin Road, Mia Grove and Pascal Grove had planned to meet at Durban East Primary School to discuss their concerns on Sunday. Before the meeting, two people in Wentworth were shot.
Brian Captuiex, 55, of Reiger Road, was in his vehicle outside his home when he was shot. Colonel Thembeka Mbele, a KZN police spokesperson, said Captuiex was talking to friends when a vehicle stopped nearby and he was shot in the chest.
In the second incident, a 15-year-old boy was shot in Silvertree Road, less than 2km from the first shooting. Captain Gwala said the boy was shot by a known suspect at the corner of Lawler and Tifflin roads.
“He sustained a gunshot wound on the left side of the abdomen. He was rushed to hospital for medical attention. The matter is still under investigation,” said Gwala.
At the meeting, residents said they were fed up with the violence and that they needed to act now to reduce crime. They feared Wentworth would turn into the Cape Flats if they did not reclaim the area.
“Innocent lives are being taken. If we don't do something today, the community will not belong to us tomorrow. It will belong to the drug lords,” said a pastor.
He said it was time for the residents to unite.
“There is power in numbers. Our youths are the ones endangering their lives and our lives. We cannot keep quiet any longer. The sale of drugs is so bad that we are getting outsiders coming to our area and killing innocent people.”
Another resident said parents should be informed if their children were selling drugs in the community.
“One boy sells drugs outside my house. I told him to go away. His response was that he could not sell in front of his mother’s house. So they are scared to sell in front of their parents’ homes but they want to endanger us.
“Even if it was my own child or grandchild, I would hit him. We need to approach their parents. They must know the havoc their children are causing and they must put a stop to it. Let’s make a difference today, so tomorrow we can take Wentworth back.”
A fellow resident said she was threatened by a group of young boys for speaking out about drugs. She said last week, she overheard two drug runners arguing about a spot in front of her house. They each claimed the area as their territory.
“It’s my house. They live far away. They were arguing about whose spot it was for selling. When I went out to see what was happening, the one guy pulled out his gun and started wiping it. How do you have a gun with you so freely?”
She said she lived with her daughters and she feared for their lives.
Hector Henry, 86, a community activist, said people should take a stand and go to the eThekwini Municipality to ask for more security in the area.
“Take the bull by the horns and stand firm. Last year, a person was shot and that person’s mother is still waiting for the police to come over and take statements. We need to call on law enforcement to make their presence known and to help us get rid of all the illegal nonsense going on here.”
The residents agreed to place surveillance cameras on roads, so they could see what vehicles were entering the area and who was responsible for the shootings.
After the meeting, the group went to six homes in the area, where they believed drug dealers lived, and informed the families about their concerns.
One resident told an occupant in the house: “This nonsense is bringing outsiders and bringing the violence that we are witnessing.”
However, the young man he addressed said he had no idea what was happening in the community.
At another home, a man told the community that he had stopped taking and selling drugs two weeks ago.
Parboo Sewpersad, the metro police spokesperson, said: “Gang violence is an old culture and it's not just prevalent in Wentworth but in all townships in eThekwini. We are working in the area but we need community members to come forward with information that we can use to get these people.
“Recently, a young man was shot and killed. We arrested a 16-year-old for his killing. How does a 16-year-old get a gun? The same teenager lives in a home with family members. His family should have come forward and informed us a long time ago that he had a gun and we could have prevented this.”
Sewpersad said residents needed to put their trust in law enforcement officials.
“Give police hard information on where they can find guns and drugs and we can make successful arrests. If you don’t trust the local police, you can also come to metro police.”
SAPS did not respond at the time of publication.
Anyone with information regarding the selling, distribution and storage of drugs can call Captain Marlon Pillay of metro police at 084 447 7568.