Who let ‘Ninja’ slip from justice?
WHEN the minister of police is called on to intervene in a suburban crime nuisance, you know something is amiss in the safety, policing and justice triumvirate. That it takes residents to cry out to social activist Yusuf Abramjee for help to secure such a commitment is an even sadder indictment.
The issue at stake is the release, for the second time, of a man who earned the nickname “Fence Ninja” for the stealthy way in which he traversed walls and slipped into properties in Pretoria’s Garsfontein area in the dead of night.
Taken at face value, the crimes the man is accused of are relatively petty, among them trespassing and theft of items such as bicycles.
But, while no violence has been reported, some residents are so fed up that it could turn nasty if they come face to face with him during one of his escapades.
Residents are entitled to live securely and untroubled in their homes, and it is incumbent on the police to respond to the threats they face.
So it was that residents protested outside Garsfontein police station several months ago, demanding action against the “Ninja” after he had been brought in but then released.
They got the commitment of the new station commander that once a strong case could be built, with their help in reporting incidents, he would be brought to book.
This happened, and when the “Ninja” was shopping for lunch, he was brought in.
Jubilation turned to anger as news spread that he had been released again from court without charges being pressed.
It is deeply disturbing that nobody, including the police, seems to know why, or where to go from here.
Where, we wonder, was the investigating officer and why does nobody appear to know what happened to the suspect? For how much longer must residents live in fear and feel despair that the police cannot be relied upon to make them feel secure? What is the role of the courts in this?
We are glad the minister agreed to get involved and we hope that he will act quickly and decisively against anyone found to have been derelict in executing their duty.