Manenberg gangsters call for peace talks

2015-06-23 18:34
(Tammy Petersen, News24)

(Tammy Petersen, News24)

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Cape Town - “Bring your artillery, then we will talk peace.”

This is the position of Tama Community Development project manager Glenda Gain, who was contacted by gang leaders to facilitate ceasefire talks in Manenberg.

Four months after the Clever Kids and Hard Livings declared a turf war, locals are demanding an end to the bloodshed.

Gain, who is also a site manager for the Manenberg Community Work Programme, told News24 members of the Hard Livings had asked her to oversee negotiations, but the Clever Kids say they "want to speak to the HLs’ high ranking members”.

“This means that while they decide what their next move is, the community is being held hostage,” she said.

“The only way we will really have peace is if the gangsters are disarmed. Talk is cheap. They need to hand over their weapons and stop the shooting. The people are terrified.”

Manenberg police spokesperson Lieutenant Ian Bennett said while there was talk of peace talks, the authorities had no involvement in gang negotiations.

But residents say talks of a ceasefire are just that – talk.

“I have been living in Manenberg for almost 40 years and the peace has never lasted more than a few months,” resident Karen Mouton told News24.

She joined other residents in Manenberg Avenue on Monday to form a human chain in protest at the violence. While initially only about 50 people lined the streets, about 200 others joined hands later in the day.

“On every occasion they agree to pack away their guns and meet each other half way in terms of gang territory. Who do they think they are, to fight over streets and people who don’t belong to them?

“Enough with the talking. Bring in the army again and show these skollies who’s the boss.”

Aaliyah de Bruin agreed, saying tensions were always high in the gang-ridden community.

“If the gangsters are not at war, they are busy planning one. I am constantly in fear for my life and the safety of my children.

“Why don’t they go to a field and open fire on each other? That way innocent people won’t be caught in the crossfire.”

Gain said while she agrees peace talks are not the ideal solution, it is an avenue which needs to be explored if it provides some relief from the constant gunfire.

Mother of two Saafia Hoffman said that even if the peace only lasted one day, she would welcome it.

“It’s just so exhausting to have to hide in your home. My children don’t want to go to school because the shooting sometimes starts before the sun rises.

“All I do is pray for peace. I hope my prayers will be answered soon.”

Read more on:    cape town  |  gangs  |  crime

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