Khayelitsha’s Island informal settlement is in the midst of a crime wave that has left residents terrified. Over the past few months, there have been multiple reported incidents of rape and robbery in the area. One woman was recently raped and shot in the leg, adding to the sense of fear in the community.
According to a community leader, the problem starts as soon as the sun sets. “When the sun sets, thugs start terrorising us. You would hear gunshots on the streets. For the past three months, almost 10 women have been raped in this area,” he said.
Many of the residents are afraid to leave their homes after dark, but even staying inside does not guarantee their safety. One resident, who wished to remain anonymous, explained how she and her family were robbed at gunpoint in their home in March. “After that, they searched us, touching our private parts. The other one fingered us. I’m happy that we were not raped,” she said.
The woman said she now sleeps with a knife under her pillow. “Even if they kill me I will have tried to defend myself,” she said.
Residents say that the lack of street lighting in the area only makes matters worse, as it provides cover for criminals. Police have also been reluctant to patrol the area, citing concerns for their own safety.
Residents are calling for more immediate and concrete solutions to be put in place to stop the crime wave in its tracks and create a sense of safety in their community.