'It's too dark and scary'
By Solly Maphumulo

Lack of electricity is taking its toll on Kempton Park residents who are
entering their seventh day without power.

Ekurhuleni metro municipality spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said power was
to be restored on Monday.

Residents were left without power after a fire at a sub-station.

For Kobus Stevenson and his family, the past six days have been
nightmarish. "This is unbearable. Our lives have come to a standstill,"
he complained as he made his way to a nearby shop to buy something to eat.

'It's too dark and scary'
"There is not much in the shop. Most of the delicate stuff is getting

"If you buy milk you have to finish it the same day. This is so awful."

Lack of electricity has made it impossible for Stevenson to go out at

"It's too dark and scary. The alarms are not working. We just have to go
to bed early.

"The problem is that my two sons do not understand why they have to
sleep early - they want to play games."

Domestic worker Maki Masana said she had been using fire to cook and
heat water to bath, and for her three-month-old daughter's bottle.

"I have to collect wood every day. What can I do? I have to make sure
there is hot water for Nthabiseng's bottle.

"This is becoming a big problem for me. I cannot afford a gas stove.
Whenever I make my daughter's bottle I have to make the fire."

Masana pointed at her two-year-old son's dirty feet - "I have been
unable to bath him thoroughly.

"The little hot water I get, I have to save for important things. I
can't bath him with cold water, I just wipe him with a wet towel."

When The Star visited Kempton Park on Sunday traffic lights were out and
most of the restaurants were deserted. The only visible activity came
from generator-powered shops.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on April 28,


Kill the bastards, minister tells police

By Graeme Hosken

Police have been given the licence to kill by a deputy minister.

"You must kill the bastards if they threaten you or the community. You
must not worry about the regulations. That is my responsibility. Your
responsibility is to serve and protect," were the fiery words of Deputy
Safety and Security Minister Susan Shabangu at an anti-crime imbizo in
Pretoria West on Wednesday.

Shabangu, who received a standing ovation, was responding to questions
on what police and the government were doing to curb crime.

Residents of Danville, Pretoria West, Lotus Gardens, Hercules and
Elandspoort complained about the "pathetic excuses" given by police
allegedly unable or unwilling to deal with crime.

"I want to assure the police station commissioners and policemen and
women from these areas that they have permission to kill these criminals.

"I won't tolerate any pathetic excuses for you not being able to deal
with crime. You have been given guns, now use them.

"I want no warning shots. You have one shot and it must be a kill shot.
If you miss, the criminals will go for the kill. They don't miss. We
can't take this chance.

"Criminals are hell-bent on undermining the law and they must now be
dealt with. If criminals dare to threaten the police or the livelihood
or lives of innocent men, women and children, they must be killed. End
of story. There are to be no negotiations with criminals.

"The constitution says criminals must be kept safe, but I say No!

"I say we must protect the law-abiding people and not the criminals. I
say that criminals must be made to pay for their crimes," she said.

Lashing out at corrupt and incompetent police officials, Shabangu said
the community had a voice and should use it, especially when it came to

"If you feel you're not being listened to or your rights are being
infringed, stand up and make your voice heard.

"A policeman has to help you. He has taken an oath to serve and protect
and can't decide who and when he wants to serve and protect.

"You must not accept excuses from police who say they can't help you
because the crime didn't happen in their precinct. They have no choice.
This is not an issue open for debate," she said to Loraine de Vries, who
claimed a Pretoria West inspector had refused to help her because she
lived in another suburb.

Responding to questions on police either responding late or not at all
to emergencies, Shabangu said if a person wasn't happy with the
response, they should take it up with the station commissioner.

"You have a right to know why police respond late or not at all. It's
your life on the line. That's another thing that's not up for debate.
Police have to respond, whether they like it or not."

Appealing to communities for help in the fight against crime, Shabangu
welcomed the questions.

"The only way we have a true picture of what's happening is through
imbizos like this. We need more interaction if we're to win the war on

"We need communities to get involved with us in order to restore law and
order and in order for our country to have a future. If we don't, our
children won't have a future.

"We need to take back our homes, our streets, our cities and our country
and the only way we can do it is with the help of the people.

"You are our answer in the fight against crime," she said.

* This article was originally published on page 1 of The Pretoria
News on April 10, 2008

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