Snatching of handbags, raping of kids, teenagers and elderly people, a spot for sharing stolen goods, drug dealing, consuming drugs and alcohol will be a thing of the past as the residents of Gopane took to task cutting of trees and grass at an area identified to be a hive for criminals in the middle of Gopane village during the close-out of Mandela Month recently. Despite the icy winter morning, a joint Letsema initiative by the Department of Community Safety and Transport Management, Ramotshere Moiloa Local Municipality, SAPS and the Department of Public Works, together with the community, had everyone involved in the cleaning of the area where you found dirty diapers, beer bottles, plastics, dead animal and human faeces, and cigars.The community believes that trees around the area provided refuge to the criminals since they could not be noticed and that made it easier for them to carry out their criminal activities. “The safety of residents is the priority of the government; hence we saw it fit to embark on this exercise. Our village has scattered sections and it is not easy to view or even hear when people cry for help from the other side. We therefore decided to work hand in hand with the local police station to combat issues relating to crime, like housebreaking, theft and rape”, said Kgosi Lillian. A community representative also had the following to say: “We decided to leave our daily household chores and put the safety of our children first. We have children and are all responsible for their safety as well as our own. These criminals causes the residents to have sleepless nights and do not feel safe even when locked inside their homes”, uttered a community member who identified herself as a mother of three teenage daughters. During one of her engagements with the stakeholders, Kgosi Lillian Gopane had encouraged the members to communicate the message to all the residents to come and dedicate their 67 minutes in clearing the said area. “I can joyfully say that indeed my plea did not fall on deaf ears looking at the large number of young and elderly people who came. We should actually make each day a Mandela Day and not only work on this day. Let this initiative be a start of good things and be extended to neighboring villages. Your dedication and volunteerism shows that indeed working together we can take Ramotshere Moiloa forward”, she said.