Activist community

Sophiatown police given formal notice by Westbury community

The community of Westbury peacefully but determinedly spent two days at the Sophiatown Police Station demanding police action to prevent an alarming number of murders in the area.

In the past few days, four men have been shot dead in the suburb plagued by gang violence and drug-related crimes.

READ ALSO : Two suspects arrested for armed robbery with unlicensed firearm in Westbury

Mathews Booysen, father of Shanon (39) who was killed the day before the protest, said: “My boy was so humble, he loved people and had four children. He wasn’t a gangster, he didn’t do drugs. I don’t understand why people thought he didn’t deserve to live. Killers walk free and know they are free. We cry and we demand a reshuffle in this police station because there are so many shootings every week. The police don’t care and now my son is dead.

Mathews Booysen, father of slain son Shanon (39) who was killed the day before the protest, is calling for changes to be implemented at the Sophiatown police station if calm is to come to Westbury. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

Sophiatown Police spokesman Captain TJ de Bruyn said: ‘A man was shot after witnesses saw three men approach him and begin shooting. It is believed to be linked to a case the day before where a woman was shot in the leg. Witnesses say a second man was killed after being shot in the back as he ran for cover from gunfire in the street.

Sophiatown CPF Chairman Gus Malgas said: “The community is demanding higher levels of police visibility and action in Westbury. A list of grievances was delivered to General Max Masha overnight. They call for more police presence in the region and an end to police corruption.

READ ALSO : Two murders in one day shock Westbury community

District Commissioner Major General Max Masha looks on sternly as Gauteng Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela addresses protesters in the Westbury community. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

Community member Jefferson Johnson said: “Westbury has become a war zone, we have lost so many people and we are getting no response to the shooting deaths and hearing no condemnation.

Melisa Davids, a young activist, said the reason they activated is that they are tired of being neglected by the police. “We are tired of the blood on our streets. We cry out to God to help us.

READ ALSO : Two murders in one day shock Westbury community

Some of the angry but peaceful protesters at the Sophiatown Police Station demand that law enforcement tackle the crime and murders in Westbury before more lives are lost. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

Gauteng Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela addressed the group after a night of unrest. “In this community, in the past month, there have been six gang-related murders and attempted murders. It’s too much. I want to assure this community that we have our head of organized crime in the province who prioritizes solving these cases as quickly as possible. »

READ ALSO : Sophiatown police station under spotlight as community protests against high murder rate in Westbury

Mawela called on the community to work with the police to fight crime. He suggested whistleblowers need to be protected. He promised to give the community weekly updates on cases, commentary on convictions and other information.

District Commissioner Major General Max Masha looks on sternly as Gauteng Police Commissioner Lt. Gen. Elias Mawela addresses protesters in the Westbury community. Photo: Emily Wellman Bain

An unnamed member of the community said: ‘It remains to be seen whether any meaningful action will be taken unlike in the past when police intervened to quell community unrest and walk away without resolving anything.’

READ ALSO : Westbury community march to Sophiatown police station after murders