Residents demand end to illegal activity

Resident march to a suspected drug house.

Bonteheuwel residents marched to suspected drug houses and ‘n êlla possies (suiker huisies) in Jasmine and Juniper streets on Friday March 6, to demand an end to illegal activities.

The march, organised by the Bonteheuwel Development Forum, comes after a community meeting on Wednesday March 4, where residents spoke about an increase in children bunking school and hanging out in the J-block, drug peddling, an increase in ‘n êlla possies, where young people are allegedly doing drugs, and unknown people and vehicles frequenting the streets at all hours of the day.

Henriette Abrahams from the Bonteheuwel Development Forum, said their streets are so busy these days that it almost resembles Long Street in Cape Town, known for its nightclub and party activities.

On Friday evening, the group was supported by law enforcement and Bishop Lavis SAPS. They first met on the field behind the mosque in Jasmine Street, where residents spoke about their frustration and the state of their community, before they approached suspected drug houses and * êlla possies to ask them to stop their illegal activities.

Ladovica Gordon said she grew up in Jasmine Street, and things have drastically changed for the worse in that area. Addressing the rest of the community at the meeting, she said: “If you know about illegal activities, you must report it. If not, then you are an accomplice. We are responsible for our street, and we cannot blame government or the police. Some of our children might be hungry, but we do not have to resort to criminal activities to feed our children. We are here to help. We want safe spaces for our children. If you see my child involved in any criminal activity or unsavoury behaviour, I give you permission to respectfully reprimand him and inform me. As parents, we need to instil discipline in our homes, because our children must know how to be responsible citizens. We can fight against this drug scourge, but we need to stand united.”

Susan Hendricks also appealed to fellow residents to report illegal activities and to raise their voices against it.

Mariam Solomons said parents cannot allow their adult children to do whatever they want in their homes. “If it is your house, then you as a parent, must take control over your house. Don’t allow your adult children to do illegal things. We are tired of talking and the time for acting is now. Many of these drug peddlers are people who grew up in front of us, but they show no respect for anyone,” Ms Solomons said.

Byron Theunissen said there is so much potential that he sees in the young people of their community. He cautioned young people not to get involved with using or selling drugs, as it will not secure them a bright future. “It is not worth it. You are the future. Look after yourselves, young people. If you need something, talk to me. Don’t do something silly,” he warned.

Edith Jansen said the streets need to be restored to the way it used to be – where children were happy and could play peacefully. “Prayer is our weapon,” Ms Jansen added.

Ms Abrahams warned drug dealers that they will use the law to confiscate their houses, should they not cease their activities.

Lieutenant -olonel Shaun Muller from Bishop Lavis SAPS told the community that hard work lays ahead to change things for the better, and that it will be effective only if everybody stands together.