Clashes between taxi drivers and foreign nationals flared up again today resulting in several businesses in Pienaarsdorp being set alight by disgruntled members of the community. The unrest comes in the wake of the alleged murder of a local taxi driver. Klerksdorp News asked Pienaarsdorp resident, Maryke van Rensburg what her take is on the events that took place in the once tranquil residential area and it is clear that Pienaarsdorp has been in crisis for some time.
“When we woke up in Pienaarsdorp on Sunday morning there was a crackle in the air, a general feeling of unrest with people standing around on corners and every now and then you could hear a ‘Hebatho’ or ‘Eish, this is bad.’
I started asking around and found out that a Taxi Driver was allegedly killed by Nigerians living in the flats at the corners of Botha and Kleynhans street. And then suddenly, the phones started lighting up as messages were sent to warn people to stay out of Pienaarsdorp.
Hats off to SAPS that kept the situation under control on Sunday, but unfortunately, it was not the end.
This morning when I went outside, I could hear lots of feet running and I just knew, it didn’t bode well. Suddenly the street was filled with lots of people with sticks and stones. My husband and I left everything and fled the area. But funny enough, the people ignored everyone and headed straight for the properties that are known as drug houses and set some of them alight.
The law-abiding community members in Pienaarsdorp feel that it really was a blessing in disguise as we have asked for years that these drug nests and human trafficking brothels be closed and raised to the ground. We’ve petitioned the council about the tavern that opened its doors overnight and terrorised the community, on a daily basis with loud music, selling liquor to people that in turn then walked around drinking in the streets.
We fought in unity with SAPS and CPF Klerksdorp to have one problem property closed, thinking that it would stem the influx of sex workers and drug kingpins, but they just moved next door and became even more than before.
It felt as if our pleas and petitions fell on deaf ears. We were starting to give up hope until this morning when people, formed outside our community, targeted these drug houses and brothels and burned them down.
People, not living in Pienaarsdorp, will not know the relief we feel when we pass the burned down properties. They will not understand the joy we feel with the knowledge that the criminal elements have received a stern warning … they are not welcome in our community and also not in our town.”