Thanks for the masks, but what we need is police visibility

STAY SAFE: Metro Police hand out sanitisers and masks during Wednesday’s Covid-19 community awareness and outreach programme which was led by safety and security portfolio head Queenie Pink
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

Seeing their children gunned down as gang warfare continues unabated is the biggest fear parents in the northern areas have at the moment.

And while residents who received masks and sanitisers to help fight the spread of Covid-19 said they appreciated the gesture, the killer disease was not their most pressing worry.

Municipal officials who on Wednesday fanned out across the northern areas to provide masks and sanitisers were met with pleas for more safety measures to be put in place.

Nelson Mandela Bay mayoral committee member Queenie Pink, who heads the safety and security portfolio, led the Covid-19 community awareness programme in the northern areas.

In Missionvale, Cleary Park and Booysen Park, 400 masks and 350 hand sanitisers were handed out.

Pink said people should not take Covid-19 lightly just because the country had moved from level 3 to 2 of the national lockdown.

“Covid-19 numbers are dropping but in the northern areas it is still present.

“We realised our people in the northern areas think it’s business as usual; they no longer wear masks.

“They think since we’re on level 2, Covid-19 has ended.

“We decided to target this area to remind our people to obey the regulations,” Pink said.

However, residents of Timothy Valley in Booysen Park said their most pressing issue was the safety of their children, which was being compromised by gang-related shootings.

A woman who asked to remain anonymous said she was grateful for the handouts but was more concerned for her three children whom she had to lock inside the house for fear of gang shootings.

BODY SEARCH: A Metro Police officer searches a man in Booysen Park during Wednesday’s safety campaign
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

“The rapes, the murders … We live in fear in Timothy Valley.

“Handing out sanitisers is a good start for me but they need to do more to get rid of the gangs.

“Our kids are going to turn out like the gangsters.

“Small children are walking with guns and we have to be scared every second of the day as grown-ups,” the woman said.

Another Timothy Valley resident,  who also asked to remain anonymous, said what the municipality was doing was a nice gesture.

THOROUGH CHECKS: Roadblocks formed part of the awareness programme in Missionvale, Bethelsdorp and Cleary Park
Image: EUGENE COETZEE

“The police need to be around us often, as they are today, so that the safety can be OK.

“Our kids can’t play outside because these gangsters don’t worry that there are people outside  — they just shoot,” the man said.

BY SIMTEMBILE MGIDI

 

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