Hope after ceasefire

2015-05-05 06:00
Manenberg police are investigating close to 20 cases as a result of a gang violenc flareup in Manenberg.

Samantha Lee (FILE)

Manenberg police are investigating close to 20 cases as a result of a gang violenc flareup in Manenberg. PHOTO: Samantha Lee (FILE)

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A fragile truce has been restored following peace talks in Manenberg.

The area had been volatile recently with various shooting incidents that injured and killed some residents.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Ian Bennett confirms that no-one has been injured in shootings in the area since Tuesday last week. “It is quiet at the moment. We still have reports of sporadic shootings but no reports of people being injured or shot at the moment,” he says.

After what residents called a “black Christmas”, peace had been restored in January, following community intervention in which two meetings were held in the area (“Fighting back”, People’s Post, 27 January).

These meetings were facilitated by the Manenberg Safety Forum. Forum coordinator Rugshanda Pascoe said at the time it was time to take back the streets.

The residents attending marched through the streets after both meetings as a sign of disapproval of the shootings.

The meetings were followed by a safety campaign aided by the City of Cape Town’s security services and local police in February.

Bennett confirms that 11 attempted murders are being investigated. One of these cases was changed to murder after the victim died in hospital on Friday.

Bennett also confirms 24 people were brought in for questioning in connection with gang violence.

In one of the first incidents, on Sunday 5 April, a 14-year-old boy was shot in the head. He is still recovering in hospital.

Later the same day three people were injured in a shooting.

At about 16:45 two men were standing in Renoster Road, Bennett tells. “The men were approached by unknown suspects who shot at them several times. Both were shot in the buttocks but survived the incident,” he says.

A 21-year-old woman was also hit by the suspects when a bullet entered the window of a nearby flat in Olga Court.

“The woman had been sitting in the lounge when the stray bullet hit her in the chest,” Bennett says.

In light of these incidents the Manenberg Safety Forum called for an urgent march on Tuesday last week. “The march was organised because of the gang violence. We did it to unite the people of Manenberg because no battle can be won if we are not united,” Pascoe says.

However, the march was interrupted by violence. “While waiting at the circle in Manenberg Avenue a fight broke out and we moved closer to see what was happening,” Pascoe says.

She says an alleged gangster was attempting to extort money from a man who refused and fought him.

The alleged gangster then waited a few minutes before pulling out a firearm and shooting in the man’s direction.

“Bullets came flying toward us and as we moved away to get cover one of our members got shot in the leg,” she says.

The injured man was taken to hospital and later discharged with the bullet still lodged in his calf. He is awaiting treatment by an orthopedic surgeon. A case was not opened.

Waheed Sookool, another coordinator of the Forum, says the march was a necessity.

“The level of anxiety and trauma suffered by the community is immense, and activists felt that it was necessary to get ordinary residents onto the streets so that gangsters could witness the unhappiness and displeasure,” Sookool says.

Police suspect that the spate of shootings started after a gambling disagreement. “From what we hear two men were gambling on a corner and the one could not stand to lose. He then went home, fetched a gun and shot the other man,” Bennett says.

People’s Post was informed that shootings started in Thambo Village on Thursday 2 April and then moved into Heideveld and Manenberg.


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