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Promise Land reclaimed
Promise Land
The founding members of the Promise Land Neighbourhood Watch are from the left Poloko Mogaswa, Albert Mokgethi and Ishmael Seikaneng. They started the neighbourhood watch after Keitumetse Applegreen was brutally murdered in her house. Photo: Alzane Narrain

The brutal murder of a young woman in Kuruman prompted a group of community members to start a neighbourhood watch aimed at preventing such a horrific crime from being committed again.

Keitumetse Applegreen was attacked on 13 June inside and outside her home in the Promise Land Informal settlement.

According to the charge sheet against her alleged murderer, Gordon Dipakhedi, she was beaten repeatedly over the head with a spade and a hammer.

He then allegedly hanged them both inside the house. When members of neighbourhood watch from another settlement in Kuruman eventually arrived to intervene, it was too late.

Dipakhedi survived his attempted suicide and was arrested when the police arrived later that evening.

On 15 June he briefly appeared in the Kuruman Magistrate’s Court on a count of murder.

Poloko Mogaswa, chairperson of the Kuruman Community Policing Forum (CPF), says he and Applegreen grew up together.

He says her murder was horrific and upsetting, because everyone saw what was happening, but no one wanted to get involved.

“People just looked on while she was being assaulted and did nothing,” says Mogaswa.

That same weekend Mogaswa and others in the community decided to start Promise Land’s first neighbourhood watch.

“We need to protect our own people. We need to assist the police.

“If we had our own neighbourhood watch at the time Keitumetse was attacked, she would have survived, because we would have been there to protect her.”

Albert Mokgethi, deputy chair­person of the Promise Land Neighbourhood Watch, says in this month since the neighbourhood watch has started, they have already prevented various crimes and caught many criminals.

“We have encouraged our community to stand up against crime in our neighbourhood. Many community members have contacted us when they saw something suspicious taking place,” says Mokgethi.

“Our neighbourhood watch helps to assist the police in catching criminals. We have assisted them with drug busts, house breakings, theft and locating drug dealers.”

Ishmael Seikaneng, chairperson of the Promise Land Community Forum, says since the lockdown started crime has been on the rise, especially when it comes to crimes against women and children.

“All we want is to make our community a safer place. A place were our children are not afraid to play outside. We want people to feel safe in their own homes,” says Seikaneng.

  • Dipakhedi’s next appearance in the Kuruman Magistrate’s Court is on 11 August.
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