(Names of individuals have not been used in this article for obvious reasons.)

A group of Smutsville residents, mostly women, are baying for action from the authorities, suggesting that if something isn’t done soon about the criminals preying on their homes and making their communities unsafe, they will be taking the law into their own hands.

On Monday morning The EDGE was summoned to meet with over thirty ladies – and one or two men – who had gathered in a garden on Luthango Street. They had asked the newspaper to come so that the strong message they wished to send to criminals, and indeed SAPS, could be published.

“Genoeg is Genoeg” (Enough is enough) they shouted, “We are tired of being afraid. We are tired of thieves walking in our community without being arrested.”

The women certainly looked like they meant business, determined to use their numbers to make a difference. They said that whilst they acknowledge that theft has always been a problem in the area, since December it has become much worse. More and more homes have been hit – and seldom is there a night when at least one household hasn’t suffered the results of this criminal activity.

The women believe that their homes are being ‘drugged’ by the perpetrators.
“They are removing the glass from our windows and burning something that makes us sleep heavily, before coming in to steal our stuff,” one lady complained, to the agreement of the others.

The most frustrating thing for them, they said, is that it is two culprits who are responsible for this current run of break-ins, and that the community are fully aware of their identities.
“We know who they are, and where they live!” said one of the women, “But even though they have been reported, the police are not arresting them.”

There was much excitement in the group, each wanting to say how her particular family had been affected by the wave of thievery for which they allege the two men are responsible.
“My mother of 83 years old was broken into,” said one lady. “The man got disturbed and ran off. We later found shoes and a bag outside, so we were able to identify the thief. But when we told the police they didn’t even take him into custody.”

Another person said she had seen one of the thieves carrying ill-gotten building materials past her home in the early hours of the morning. She and other community members went the next day and took the materials off him, informing the police that they had recovered what they believed were stolen goods. “The police told us to give them back to the man. We later found out that they had been stolen from a building site,” the angry lady insisted.

Yet another victim of theft said that her flat screen television and sound system had been stolen, and she was still awaiting the arrival of SAPS investigators. She holds no hope of getting it back. “It will be sold already by now,” she said.

The ladies suggested that their stolen property was mostly being ‘fenced’ in George and Knysna, but that there were some people buying it locally too, and sending it off to their homelands.
As each woman shared her experiences of theft and lack of concerted police action, the mood of the crowd became angrier and more determined to take action.

They believe that they represent most of the women in Smutsville when they say that they have reached the limits of their patience.
“This is just the start,” one of them said, “But the word is spreading. Today we are thirty-two women, by tomorrow there will be over a thousand. Ons is BAIE KWAAD (we are VERY CROSS).”

“Watch out!” yelled another lady, “The Sedgefield women are going to do their own thing to solve this problem. We know where these guys live, and soon we will be marching to their homes.”

And it seems that it is not only the thieves who will feel the might of this angry group.
“Our next target is the Tik houses,” announced one of the leaders of the group, with the others all voicing their agreement, “We know that it’s drugs that lead young people into crime.”