Onus on com­mu­ni­ties to spark change

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - KARINDA JAG­MO­HAN

VI­O­LENCE mon­i­tor and an­a­lyst Mary de Haas said rock throw­ing for pur­poses of loot­ing or as a game has been go­ing on for years and should have al­ready been dealt with.

Pre­vi­ously, ar­eas near Ch­ester­ville, south of Dur­ban, had be­come no­to­ri­ous for such in­ci­dents.

“This pat­tern rears it­self ev­ery now and again as crim­i­nal­ity is con­ta­gious.

But this is eas­ily pre­ventable be­cause there are some peo­ple who know why this is hap­pen­ing and who is do­ing it,” she said.

De Haas called for caging bridges that have been iden­ti­fied as vul­ner­a­ble, and be­lieved per­pe­tra­tors could be from nearby in­for­mal set­tle­ments.

But crim­i­nol­ogy ex­pert and re­search pro­fes­sor and head of the ur­ban de­sign cen­tres at the Dur­ban Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, Pro­fes­sor Monique Marks, said caging bridges would cre­ate more prob­lems and would de­fer from the New Ur­ban Agenda, which is about mak­ing the city more ac­ces­si­ble to peo­ple.

“In­stead of di­vert­ing crime else­where with en­closed bridges, we need to un­der­stand the ra­tio­nale be­hind this vi­o­lence. There are many frus­trated youth who feel they have no op­tions in life, and turn to crim­i­nal be­hav­iour,” said Marks.

While she sym­pa­thised with vic­tims, she pointed to “rel­a­tive de­pri­va­tion” and said the onus is on the com­mu­nity as a whole to spark change.

“A per­son in an in­for­mal set­tle­ment is liv­ing in a shack and watch­ing peo­ple go by in fancy cars ev­ery day and feel they have been deprived of some­thing that oth­ers have. They re­spond with frus­tra­tion. We need to un­der­stand the in­jus­tice that has led to these type of sit­u­a­tions,” Marks said.

Ri­vaaj Ram­das, mem­ber of the Tac­ti­cal Shoot­ing Team and founder of the Safety Se­cu­rity Team, a What­sApp group of good Sa­mar­i­tans and crime fighters, said motorists need to an­tic­i­pate be­com­ing tar­gets when they travel near bridges close to in­for­mal set­tle­ments.

“Slow down, and if it’s safe, drive with bright lights to spot sus­pi­cious move­ment.

“If you are at­tacked and you car hasn’t been im­mo­bilised, drive to a place of safety. If you are im­mo­bilised, lock your doors and con­tact au­thor­i­ties im­me­di­ately.

“Dial 112 from your cell­phone, which will put you through to the fly­ing squad, metro po­lice or RTI, de­pend­ing on your sit­u­a­tion. This num­ber will work even if you have no air­time.

“Learn how to send What­sApp lo­ca­tion pins to your con­tacts so they know where you are, and keep in con­stant con­tact with them.

“Com­ply with rob­bers, don’t try to be a hero.”


A rock was thrown at 77-year-old Do­rian Kahlberg’s ve­hi­cle as she trav­elled un­der a bridge near Toll­gate Bridge in Berea, Dur­ban.

A truck driver came un­der attack by a group of peo­ple throw­ing rocks near Lanse­ria Air­port.

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