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'It's time to live again'

Westbury residents have told Eyewitness News they are finally starting to feel safe and no longer hear gunshots at night following the deployment of officers to the community.

Parts of Westbury in Johannesburg remain shut down on 2 October 2018, with roads blocked off with burning debris, as residents light in protest. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

WESTBURY - Westbury residents have told Eyewitness News that they are finally starting to feel safe and no longer hear gunshots at night following the deployment of officers to the community.

Police Minister Bheki Cele stationed 140 specialised officers to the predominantly coloured suburb about 10 days ago to deal with gang-related crimes.

The intervention followed days of protests in Westbury, sparked by the death of Heather Petersen who was gunned down in a gang-related crime.

Children can be seen playing on the same streets which were once filled with burning tyres and rocks.

A grandmother of six says before the tactical response team was deployed to the area they used to run for cover at night while bullets flew close to their homes.

"We had to crawl on the floor to get to the back because we are a lot safer there. It is still happening [the shootings] but I pray to God that everything will come to a standstill [sic]."

Community leader Shahiem Ismail says most residents are now slowing adjusting as the suburb appears to be becoming safer.

"Life was basically taken away in terms of the situation, the killings and shootings we had. It's time to live again."

Residents say they hope this government intervention will bring a permanent change in their community which will last for many years.

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