Manenberg gang violence an act of terror - De Lille

2016-04-12 18:54
(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

(Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - Bullets rang out near Manenberg Primary on Tuesday, leaving children frightened in their classrooms as the gang war continued to rage in the Cape Flats community.

And while the last reported fatality was recorded on Monday night when an alleged gangster was shot and killed, locals said they were pleased by the increased SAPS and Metro Police presence in the area.

Roegchanda Pascoe, of the Manenberg Safety Forum, said sporadic shootings had been reported across the area, but no one had been injured or killed by Tuesday afternoon.

"The situation remains tense, but the authorities’ presence here has improved. It’s good to see something being done," she said.

Police in the area on Monday said other SAPS divisions had been sent to help in the precinct.

No innocent people had yet been caught in gang gunfire, an officer confirmed.

Mayor Patricia de Lille in a statement said she had called on Western Cape police commissioner Major General Khombinkosi Jula to discuss the gang violence, which she condemned as an act of terror.

"Even though it is the police’s primary mandate to fight crime, the City of Cape Town will be making all possible resources available in order to assist their operations in Manenberg," she said.

On Monday, 58 members of the council’s Stabilisation Unit were deployed to assist with operations in a co-ordinated effort with police.

"Our policing efforts over the last year have seen the number of gang murders drop by 19% from the previous year, which had in turn shown a reduction from the previous year. This means that while three years ago, one-fifth of all murders in Cape Town were gang-related, that figure is now only 11%,” she said.

"We cannot allow families to live as hostages in their own homes while innocent lives are being lost in the crossfire. We cannot take over the job of the National Government and undertake the policing role they are supposed to provide through SAPS, but we commit to doing what we can to help."

'Treat us like human beings'

Pascoe said that while the reinforcements were seen and appreciated, more could still be done by the authorities to disarm the gangsters.

"Send in the sniffer dogs. Put the community on lockdown and get all the guns and drugs out of here," she said.

Service levels also had much room for improvement, Pascoe added.

"[The treatment given to the public by police] in Sea Point should be the same received in Kreefgat and Manenberg. We want the same service – treat us like human beings," she said.

The scenes witnessed in the streets should not be seen in any community, Pascoe insisted.

"Our children are growing up seeing this, thinking that is what life is about. The little ones aspire to be gangsters, while the others can name the gun from the sound of the shots. This shouldn’t be all our kids know."

And while gangsterism had been around for over 100 years, more effort needed to be made to stop children from turning to this way of life.

"We need to become preventative and not act when it is too late. We can’t wipe it out, but we can decrease it."

Read more on:    patricia de lille  |  cape town  |  gangs  |  crime

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