Westbury community vows to continue demonstration after deadly shooting

A woman in her 40s was killed on Thursday after being caught in the crossfire of a gunfight.

Westbury community members gathered outside the Sophiatown police station on 28 September 2018, calling for corrupt police officers to be removed. Picture: Ahmed Kajee/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - In the wake of the latest deadly shooting in Westbury, angry residents say shutting down the township with protests is the only way to get government’s attention.

A woman in her 40s was killed on Thursday after being caught in the crossfire of a gunfight. Her seven-year-old niece was also critically wounded.

Residents blocked roads with burning tyres and rocks on Thursday in a show of anger at the ongoing crime in their community that they say is fuelled by the drug trade.

The community also protested outside the Sophiatown police station. They’ve accused police of taking bribes from criminals.

This community member says “making a scene” is the only way to get authorities to listen.

“We feel really bad. What can we do? We are powerless. This is as much as we can do. This what I am doing is it.”
Many residents say they’re willing to spend their weekend outside the police station until authorities offer up solutions.

Westbury residents have accused government of intentionally marginalising them by ignoring the violent and often deadly crime in their community. Residents have also called on government to remove BEE policies.

This community member says BEE increases the problem as many people in the area don’t have jobs.

“They’ve got racist policy called black economic empowerment. That’s why people are not getting jobs. They intentionally keep our people from positions and sustaining their lifestyles. There’s no work. So many people are discouraged.”

Residents have called on police minister Bheki Cele to address their concerns as a matter of urgency.

This follows a series of anti-crime protests in the Western Cape. Cele this week interacted with Bonteheuwel residents in Cape Town, to listen to their grievances stemming from violence and crime following protests. Similar demonstrations occurred in other Cape Town neighbourhoods.

Thirteen people were arrested following demonstrations.

WATCH: Enough! Communities across CT rally together against gang violence

Disgruntled residents forced the closure of several roads across the city. They demanded that authorities step up efforts to curb violence and gang-related crimes. Unemployment and poverty eradication are among the issues community members feel lawmakers should prioritise.

Additional reporting by Shamiela Fisher.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)