When news reached the Melnick family that yet another Muldersdrift resident had been shot dead, it came as little surprise.
There had been a number of violent attacks in the area and the Melnicks, like other residents of Muldersdrift, were becoming accustomed to hearing about murders in their area.
IDYLLIC BUT DANGEROUS: A man rides a horse on a plot in Muldersdrift, where there have been a number of murders and crimes. Picture: Paballo Thekiso. Credit: Independent Newspapers
“We are all so numb and rather just view the incidents of crime in the area, as sad as it sounds, as yet another statistic,” said Sandi Melnick, who lives on Clinic Road.
Last weekend, Muldersdrift resident Jacques Botha was shot by a gang who invaded his home. He died before reaching hospital.
It is believed it was the same gang who shot a farm worker in the leg as he was returning home and robbed him of his groceries.
Less than two days before, a man had been stabbed and wounded in a home robbery on the same property as Botha died.
Employees of a nearby lodge were also attacked.
In September, Andre Jordaan, who lived on Clinic Road, was shot seven times in a robbery at his home. He died in Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital.
Two weeks before Jordaan died, 13-year-old Alyssa Botha, who lived on the same street as Jordaan, was shot dead by intruders.
Although police have been on high alert in the weeks since the killings, Melnick believes it is just a matter of time before the next violent crime takes place.
“It’s just a matter of days actually,” said Melnick.
“I do believe it is out of control. People think it is the illegal immigrants who are committing the crimes, but that is just judgemental.
“I think that if the Home Affairs office was more organised, the immigrants could be granted proper work permits allowing them to work in South Africa and then they would not resort to crime.
“I also believe the ringleaders in these crime syndicates are normally very educated, well-spoken people who use the desperation of others to do the dirty work.”
MORE POLICE NEEDED ON THE GROUND
Melnick also believes that if crime is to stop in the area, the police need more men on the ground to patrol the area.
“I don’t really think that the Muldersdrift police are adequately staffed to help with [preventing] crime in the area,” she said.
“To patrol this large area constantly requires manpower and vehicles – they just do not have either.”
Melnick says residents of Muldersdrift are easy targets for criminals.
Also, prostitution has become a huge problem, she says.
“We are easy targets because of the open grounds, inadequate individual security, the perception [that we are] rich owners, and the activity of prostitution in the area.
“These ladies are bringing unsavoury people into the area, parking next to our properties to do their business, and the gents that are being serviced are able to observe what is happening on the farms – that is, how many cars, residents’ movements etc, making us easy targets.”
Although the Melnicks say they would love to move because of all the crime, it is not an option.
“Sadly we have no back-up and we can’t afford to uproot, try to sell a property that no one will want to buy because of the crime in the area, and move to another place.”
The Schimanskys are another family who would like to move, but cannot do so because of circumstances.
“We would move at the first opportunity, but unfortunately our circumstances do not allow us to move at this stage,” said Nicky Schimansky, a resident on Clinic Road.
“We really don’t sleep well at night and are worried about every dog bark or sound we hear.”
Schimansky said she had also been disappointed by the police, as she thought they could do much more to keep the community safe.
“The police do respond. However, it seems that not much is being done by them following the incidents,” she said.
“They don’t keep the victims’ families or the community informed on progress.
“We haven’t seen any more horse patrols as there used to be before, though [police] are still doing vehicle patrols a few times a day and at night.
“What we need is more and more personal security until the police are able to catch more of these criminals.”
Gauteng police spokeswoman Captain Pinky Tsinyane says no one has been arrested for Botha’s murder.
She said police had increased visibility and introduced interventions in the area after the attacks. -Saturday Star