Nqobile Tshili Chronicle Correspondent
RESIDENTS of Cowdray Park suburb yesterday saluted the police for the heroic work in bringing to an end the reign of terror in their area following the jailing of nine men for a combined 629 years for robbery and rape.
The Chronicle news crew caught up with some Cowdray Park residents who commended the police and magistrates for a job well done.
The criminals who gang-raped and robbed residents began serving their jail terms yesterday for lengthy terms with the kingpin being slapped with 166 years in prison.
“We’re happy about the arrests. The collective 629-year sentence guarantees that they won’t return to haunt society. I think it’s deterrent enough to would be offenders. However, I wish that they could’ve been castrated to teach a lesson to like-minded people,” said Tholakele Dube.
She said it was traumatising especially for women to be gang raped as this increased the risk of contracting HIV.
Arnold Gwala said the robbers were giving a bad name to unemployed youths as they were being suspected of committing the crimes.
“It’s tough being unemployed when there are so many crimes being committed in the suburb. We’re easily picked or assumed to have committed the crimes. But we’re relieved that none of the criminals is from this suburb,” said Gwala.
He said police should continue patrolling the suburb to flush out criminals.
Another resident, Nokukhanya Ndlovu, said police had done a good job, but should not relax thinking that criminals have abandoned the suburb.
Thembelani Ndlovu said most residents were yesterday engaged in debates over the sentences. “I think the magistrates were just polite not to say life in prison for them. But anyway its life in prison for them no-one lives for 166 years,” said Ndlovu.
Meanwhile, Bulawayo police spokesperson Inspector Precious Simango expressed gratitude to the city’s residents for being patient while they were conducting investigations.
“Police in Bulawayo would like to express gratitude to different stakeholders for the good work they did in the fight against crime. This follows the arrest, prosecution, convictions and sentencing that were done to eight of the nine notorious gang robbers and rapists,” said Insp Simango.
She hailed the judiciary for the punitive sentences imposed on the eight criminals saying a combined 629 years in prison will save as a warning to would be offenders that crime does not pay.
Insp Simango said police were tracking down the remaining suspects and they would continue working hard to rid Bulawayo of criminals. She urged members of the public to continue asisting the police to fight crime by providing information.