Brigadier Bongi Ntuli, the acting eThekwini Outer South cluster commander, told the Southern Star that while crime had increased slightly in Isipingo, there is no state of emergency.

Ntuli was asked by this newspaper to comment following the statement made to the Southern Star by Aidan David, chairman of the Isipingo Community Police Forum, that the crime surge in the suburb had allegedly created a state of emergency.

David believes that the suburb is overrun by criminals and that residents and business owners are at the mercy of thugs. A spate of hijackings, armed robberies and thefts out of delivery trucks has been reported with business owners and community members crying out to police and relevant authorities for some kind of reprieve. David said immediate intervention is needed and stressed that community participation is key in eradicating the crime threats in the area.

“We need the community to be pro-active and report criminal activities, attend meetings and take control of our suburb so our children and families can live in safety. Now we have it all on our doorstep; murder, hijackings, drugs, armed robberies, home invasions and rape. We need to rally together and take back our suburb before it becomes a ghost area after it has been completely ravaged by crime and criminals,” said David.

Ntuli said, “We acknowledge that there is a slight increase, like in all nearby areas during this time of the year.

“The increase is due to different contributors such as dilapidated houses, bad infrastructure, social economic issues and high unemployment in the area. The Isipingo community are being engaged by all stakeholders to address the issues of crime.

“We are confident that we will find solutions together. Plans and programmes are being put into place to ensure serious crime is addressed and decreased.”

Isipingo Business Forum chairman, Junaid Iqbal, said crime in Isipingo has spiralled out of control and business owners, patrons and residents are under siege.

“Our businesses have been hard hit by criminals who attack delivery personnel, patrons and staff. Everyone is a target these days. Scores of suppliers have opted not to deliver to Isipingo as they fear for the lives of their employees. Hundreds of thousands of rands have been lost through the rampant thefts. More concerning is the fact that these roaming criminals are armed with unlicensed firearms and are wielding knives. We do not want lives to be lost through criminality. We are aware that police manpower is restricted and we have sought assistance from private security firms to help provide visibility when deliveries are scheduled. Sadly, our staff and customers have also become victims of gangs who just pounce, steal and flee,” said Iqbal.

Highlighting the brazen criminality in Isipingo, spokesman for Alpha Alarms, a local security company, Seshin Govender, said, the area is a hotbed for criminals and crime.

“Alpha Alarms response teams have responded to scores of crime incidents in Isipingo concerning clients and non-clients. The community is up in arms. They want to feel safe again. Local CPF sub-forums and amped residents are fed up with crime and often assist Alpha Alarms response members and police to pursue and nab suspects.

“Recently, a Phoenix couple was robbed at gunpoint while in their vehicle and the woman was pistol-whipped. The couple was accosted by three suspects, one with a firearm and the other with a knife, on Lotus Road in Isipingo Hills. The woman sustained a head injury and her handbag containing her cellphone and wallet was stolen before the suspects fled on foot,” Govender said.

He added that a search for the suspects was conducted and Alpha Alarms response attempted to track the woman’s cellphone, but it was quickly switched off. “We are doing as much as we can to work with police and the community and clamp down on crime,” Govender said.

PT Alarms CEO, Strini Govender, said, his company has assessed the gross nature of crime and violence in Isipingo and has mobilised a tactical team to patrol the streets in a bid to help to allay the fears of local businessmen and community members.

“We understand the threat to our community as our response and tactical team rush out to assist at various crime scenes. As a local company, we want residents and local businessmen to know that this fight against crime is a joint battle and we will assist police to help curb the lawlessness,” Govender said.

Local ward councillor, Sunil Brijmohan, said, “We have had a progressive meeting with Safer Cities concerning the crime in Isipingo. A resolution has been taken that a mobile station is to be operative in the Isipingo CBD and will be manned by Metro and SAPS. However, more needs to be done in terms of getting vagrants off the streets.”