Downtown Hazyview is a hub for criminal activities

Sex workers are also doing brisk business in the same area and share the space with drug dealers and addicts. Hazyview’s downtown precinct remains a hub of drugs and criminal activities, despite the fact that it is situated close to the police station.

Illegal gambling sites situated mere metres away from the police are still operational. Sex workers are also doing brisk business in the same area and share the space with drug dealers and addicts.

Some of the businesses in the area had been broken into many times, and the owners suspect it to be the drug addicts, stealing to pay for their fixes.

One of the owners, who wished to remain anonymous to avoid victimisation, said no matter how often the police and the security companies try to clean up the area, criminals keep coming back in larger numbers.

“Some of these drug users have turned the area into their home, as they are homeless. It’s not good for business, but we have to operate under these circumstances. We keep our doors open in the hope that the police station next to our businesses will act as a deterrent. However, these criminals have a way to bypass the police and our security measures, break into our businesses and steal our stuff,” – he said.

Meanwhile, one of the vendors trading in the area said the police chase the unsavoury elements away, but within hours, they return.

“The illegal gambling area has been here for years, and police pass it daily, but do nothing. When criminals turn violent and use dangerous weapons, it poses a serious danger to innocent people.”

It is believed that the number of addicts is increasing daily, and young people have easy access to drugs. Despite being known, none of the dealers are arrested. Meanwhile, one of the addicts said they had been beaten up by the police and some of the business owners, but they keep coming back because the precinct has become their home.

“We have nowhere to go, because our families have abandoned us due to our addictions. In town, we are able to eat from bins and pick up scrap and metal to sell to survive,” – they maintain.

One of the sex workers said it was safe to operate in the area, because the police station is nearby in case something bad happens. There is also a nightclub close by, and business is good, they said.

A provincial police spokesperson, Brigadier Selvy Mohlala, said the police do patrol the area and do random raids.

“The reported cases are investigated and arrests are made when the suspects are found. We always ask members of the public with any information that may lead to drug dealers to come forward. Knowing them but not reporting them to the police will not help, instead it will make the matters worse,” – he said.

The centre in question’s management was not available for comment.


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