“These kids are dangerous, violent and untouchable,” said a resident who did not wish to be named. “Over the weekends we fear for our lives.”
Known as “Glue Matters,” the gang of 20 young boys has been blamed for local robberies, including looting local shops owned by foreigners, such as Rajah.
“This community is struggling a lot,” said Rajah, who did not wish to give surname. “They loot our shops sometimes, but we hope things will change.”
“We urge them to ask for help instead of stealing from us,” he added.
Community members of the North West township say that the boys do not attend school and, instead, spend their time drinking, smoking and sniffing glue. Community members said the township’s lack of working streetlights has aided the boys’ alleged crime spree, which includes robbing residents of cell phones and money.
OurHealth spoke to three of the boys who are said to part of the group, but they denied the accusations.
Nevertheless, residents have been urged to take precautions.
“We advise young girls to be careful at all times, especially those who roam the street at night on weekends,” said Kagiso Mogajane, a resident of Extention 2. “Maybe if recreational activities become available in our community things will change.”
In 2012, South Africa’s Central Drug Authority conducted a rapid assessment of drug use and risk factors among about 7,800 people. About ten percent of respondents cited the increased availability recreational activities for youth as one measure to combat drug use.