In a move to protect residents and property 63 additional metro police officers have been deployed to Rosettenville, south of Johannesburg, where as many as 16 houses were set alight by protesters who suspected they were being used as brothels and drug dens.
The Johannesburg Metro Police Department (JMPD) on Tuesday said it had increased efforts to clamp down on crime in Rosettenville, where residents protested at the weekend against the prevalence of illicit drugs and sex work in the suburb.
The houses, which allegedly belong to Nigerian nationals, were torched on Saturday.
Police have arrested nine people, and some of them will be charged with arson. The others are thought to be illegal immigrants.
The department of public safety said it had developed a clear action plan to make Rosettenville safer. The plans includes the eradication of drugs, sex work and other crimes.
Member of Mayoral Committee, Michael Sun, said apart from deploying more officers, JMPD had also provided an additional 29 vehicles.
JMPD officers, assisted by the K9 Unit, will conduct stop and searches in the area.
Police have warned residents against taking the law into their own hands and advise that they should rather report criminal activities at the nearest police station.
Police have also said not all the houses set alight have actually been proven to be brothels and drug dens.
However, some residents complain that police do not act on their complaints regarding crime in the area. Some have accused the police of colluding with drug dealers and brothel owners.
“I am aware of Rosettenville residents suffering and the City will respond to their needs. Lawlessness has been ignored for too long, and there is no quick fix to address these problems,” said Sun.
“With the support and cooperation of the community, we will sweep the criminals from our neighbourhoods and make Rosettenville, and subsequently other areas in the city, a safer place for our residents to live, work and play.”