Plumtree residents clear criminals` hideout

Residents from Rangiore suburb in Plumtree have started clearing undeveloped housing stands which are now being used by criminals as a hideout.

Some of the housing stands have not been undeveloped for more than 20 years.

In an interview with CITE, the residents` coordinator, Prechard Ndlovu said residents took it upon themselves to clear the undeveloped stands as the local authority is not taking any responsibility.

“We are clearing the bush, there is no one doing it at the moment, responsible authorities are not taking action, residents are being raped while others are robbed, so as residents we took it up to ourselves to clear the area so that it will be clear and residents can see the perpetrators from a distance,” said Ndlovu.

He said residents have not seen the owners of the low density suburb stands for the past 20years.

“A number of areas are still undeveloped, some people got stands 20 years ago but they haven’t developed and we don’t know who the owners are, so we have tried to clear so that thieves don’t hide there. We are also clearing the belt between Thekwane road, there is also a bushy area there,” he said.

“Some residents who have been the victims of these criminals are forthcoming while some residents are saying it is the responsibility of the local authority to clear the stands, but we are trying to tell them that the local authority has failed for the past 20 years.”

Ndlovu also revealed that they have since set up a neighbourhood watch committee to combat crime in the area.

Contacted for a comment, Ward 6 Councillor Fanisani Dube said it is not the council’s mandate to clear the undeveloped stands as they remain private property.

“It is normal to find that people don’t develop their stands, we do not repossess those as people have tittle deeds already, paying rates with Council, it becomes difficult to repossess them so we have people like that and for that reason those stands end up growing trees,” said Cllr Dube.

“So what we did is that we then allowed residents with neighbours with undeveloped stands to clear such stands for their own safety and security but it’s not council policy to clear those stands, it remains private property. We got a few who mistake that and say it’s supposed to be council mandate, council clears areas in Council land, but where it belongs to someone we don’t do that.”

Councillor Dube also noted that the induced Covid-19 lockdown has seen an increase in cases of theft in the area as most people were forced out of employment.

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