Steurhof seniors’ safety concerns under spotlight

From left, Steurhof representatives Charmaine Maseko and Charmaine Gouws, councillor Eddie Andrews, Plumstead Neighbourhood Watch chairman Gary Klugman, community activist Alexis Serra and seniors activist Ursula Schenker.

The safety of seniors in Steurhof and surrounds came under the spotlight at a public meeting last Friday.

The meeting at South Peninsula High School was organised by community activist Alexis Serra in response to seniors’ concerns about an increase in physical and verbal abuse, robbery, burglary, anti-social behaviour, fraud, rape, vandalism and noise nuisance.

“Much of this crime is going unreported due to fear of victimisation with seniors suffering depression – a silent killer in this sub-economic, intergenerational community,” said Ms Serra.

Diep River station commander Lieutenant Colonel Ansley Jacobs said he suspected crime was under-reported in the area because of the 831 crimes reported in the Diep River precinct in the past five months, only 17 were from the Steurhof area.

It was important to report all crime even if it was washing stolen from a line, he said.

“Our resources are focused on statistics, and we can only work on what is reported to us. We look at where the crime hot spots are. At present, they are in the area from Constantia Road, Wynberg, to Victoria Road, Plumstead, mostly motor vehicle robberies. In Steurhof, we have had one case of robbery with a firearm and common theft of a cellphone.”

A woman in the audience said they did not report the crime because nothing happened.

Ursula Schenker, a seniors’ activist from Plumstead, stressed the need for the elderly to provide for themselves in their old age. “You need to have a five-year plan and look at your needs.”

She added: “I get calls for help from seniors who say their children are abusing them. When I ask for the age of the child, I hear 60 years and older. Children are under 18 years, these are not children,” Ms Schenker said.

Chairman of Plumstead Neighbourhood Watch Gary Klugman advised the seniors to use their skills and turn to home crafts to supplement their incomes.

Ward 73 councillor Eddie Andrews encouraged the seniors to become passive patrollers, to report suspicious vehicles and incidents.

“We are living with a generation who expect instant rewards and who no longer have 20 or 30 years’ work service. You understand loyalty, respect, morals and values,” he said.

Trianon Retirement Village manager Donna Howes asked Ms Serra for Jars of Hope, which contain dry food ingredients, to distribute to seniors.

Ms Serra and Ms Schenker are planning to launch this initiative soon. Contact them at 065 728 4993,, or to find out more.

Ward councillor Eddie Andrews encouraged the seniors to become passive patrollers and report suspicious vehicles and incidents.
Community activist Alexis Serra addressing the seniors’ safety concerns.