South Africa, Pretoria – Mourners and people visiting the graves of their loved ones at Soshanguve Block Y cemetery have become easy targets for robbers.
Police spokesperson Captain Stephen Maluleka said it had come to their attention that the graveyard had become a hunting ground for criminals who robbed people.
In the latest incident, a car was hijacked, and there were other cases of people being accosted and robbed at gunpoint. Maluleka said they had opened multiple cases of armed robbery and carjacking taking place at different times of the day and on different days of the week.
Often, victims had been “coming to remove weeds around the graves of their loved ones or … coming to perform traditional rituals”.
“Some community members who also fell victim to the crimes around the graveyard were walkers using it as a thoroughfare,” Maluleka said.
He said they encouraged residents to visit the graveyard in groups during the day, when they could see a person approaching from a distance and avoid being ambushed.
“Notwithstanding the fact that some rituals require people to be at the graveyard early, we also encourage them to do so in groups, and be on high alert while visiting the cemetery for various reasons.”
He reassured community members that the area would be monitored in order to get rid of the perpetrators.
Maluleka also asked residents who had information that may lead to the arrest of the criminals to contact the police.
He urged residents not to leave valuable items on their vehicle seats when they go into the graveyard, and to park their vehicles in places where they were visible.