Osizweni Youth-based Gangs turn streets into a “war zone”, again

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All but disappearing after quite some time, youth-based gangs in Osizweni are back on the street, causing chaos. This is according to reports and footage from local residents. Giving example, various acts of violence took place over the past weekend, 10 to 12 June 2022, allegedly all gang related.

Additionally, video footage surfaced of gang members prowling the quiet streets of Osizweni. The video appears to be filmed on 13 June 2022, the day after the incidents. The young adolescents, many under 18, apparently walking with illegal, concealed weapons.

According to a resident who wished to remain anonymous, a war has erupted between two gangs, namely the Last Warning and the Juveniles. “Five boys have been killed and two houses have been burned down through the two gangs fighting,” claimed the resident. The source further claimed that she and other community members were living under a cloud of tension and fear. “The boys from these gangs need to be removed from our community.”

He added, “Members of the Public Order Police Unit and the District Task Team have been deployed to reinforce the capacity of the local police station. The situation has returned to normality following the influx of police officers into the area.”  

Brigadier Naicker further emphasised that the South African Police Service once again appealed to community structures to work with police and to be actively involved in finding a lasting solution to weed out criminals who live in Osizweni, and who are terrorising residents.

While thankful for the influx of police activity in Osizweni, the community member strongly believed that provincial police officials and Police Minister, Bheki Cele, needed to return to the community to fully address the issue.

After reporting on gang wars erupting in the township, youth-based gang violence captured the attention of the nation. This saw Police Minister Cele taking an active stance and stomping the issue in 2020. 

At the time, video footage showed armed children patrolling the Osizweni streets, with the local police stating that the youngsters were involved in housebreakings, robberies and drugs.

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The situation reached such a level that the Osizweni community rallied together, participating in a march, where a memorandum was handed over to the Osizweni SAPS, demanding that action be taken.

To read the full article, click here.

With tensions growing in the community, an Imbizo was held in Osizweni, where Police Minister Cele and a delegation of high-ranking SAPS officials addressed residents. They further assured that the police had established various strategies to deal with the issue—including a Community Policing Strategy and a youth crime prevention initiative.

To read the full article, click here.

Following Cele’s visit, gang activity immediately subsided. The Newcastillian received feedback from the community declaring that life had returned to normal. 

Looking at the present, Police Minister Cele’s office was contacted for comment on whether he would be addressing the issue again. However, no official comment could be supplied at the time of publication.

However, the Amajuba District Municipality’s Mayor, Cllr Vuselwa Bam, and the District Speaker, Cllr Siphamandla Zulu, met with various stakeholders, departments, and Councillors on Monday, 13 June 2022 at the Osizweni Community HallThis, to address the Multi-Sectoral Youth Programme needed in assisting with the gang violence.

As a result, the District Municipality’s Communications Unit said that the Amajuba District Municipality’s leadership now calls upon all stakeholders and communities at large, to put their hands and heads together in a fight against gangsterism and crime.

With this being a developing story, what are your thoughts? 

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