No peace in sight

2020-03-03 06:01
At a vigil held on Sunday 1 March, residents erected donated crosses in memory of their slain family members at the entrance of Ocean View.

At a vigil held on Sunday 1 March, residents erected donated crosses in memory of their slain family members at the entrance of Ocean View.

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There is still no end in sight to the gun and gang violence – or the sale of drugs – raging through the Ocean View community, even after residents held a peaceful protest through its streets on Sunday 23 February.

After two people were killed in Ocean View last week, a 31-year-old man and a seven-year-old girl caught in the crossfire of an alleged gang shooting, the residents said enough is enough.

Ocean View police spokesperson, Sgt Leon Fortuin, confirmed the shooting incident which took place on Tuesday 25 February.

“It is alleged that rival gangs were shooting at each other and the deceased were hit in the crossfire. Witnesses are being questioned as to the identity of the suspect(s).”

Peaceful protest

On 23 February, about 500 residents from Ocean View and neighbouring communities, ward councillors Patricia Franke and Simon Liell-Cock, police, law enforcement and neighbourhood watches took to the streets – not only to march for peace but also to confront known drug dealers.

Resident Winston Quickfall said the community was taking action against this persistent problem. “The community has now actually started to want to fight the crime here and the problem is that we do not have enough resources. People are sick of this – abduction and murder of children, rape of women, drugs and gangsterism.”

The hordes of people marched strategically through the community, making pit stops at the homes of known gangsters, drug dealers and drug dens.

“Enough is enough,” they chanted, outside each residence.

Liell-Cock, ward 61 councillor, explained the only reason these known criminals are still out on the streets is that they have never been caught red-handed. “These guys know exactly when to hide their drugs. They make sure that they don’t have them when the police come to raid their houses.”

A resident, who wanted to remain anonymous for safety reasons, added: “That’s why they give the drugs to the children to sell – because they think the police won’t arrest them because they are young.”

Liell-Cock said residents’ fear of reporting criminals to the police is just one of the major factors hindering the justice system.

“The detectives here in Ocean View caught a major criminal just the other day but when they brought the woman in to identify him, she wouldn’t. She wouldn’t open a case. And the police can’t do anything without a case being opened.”

While many incidents go unreported due to fear of the “drug lords” in the area, Quickfall says there may be other reasons preventing locals from going to the police.

“There are parents who know about these things (crimes committed by their children) and they are not owning up. So if they are benefitting from it, then it’s wrong. I’m a parent myself, I’m a grandfather too, and I wouldn’t like to see all of them go through what is happening today.”

Gun-wielding resumes

The gun-violence did not let up after the protest was held. Resident Wade Crouwster took to Facebook on Monday 24 February at about 06:00 to say: “After our march yesterday, these idiots still have the audacity to run around with guns openly displayed and shoot as if they’re in a d*** Western movie.”

According to residents, the “young hoodlums” of the community also used their weapons the day before the march.

Quickfall said: “Like yesterday, during the course of the day, there was gun shooting and they went up the road here and stationary cars were shot at.

“I don’t know what they’re trying to prove – and it’s the youngsters. We need to stop this now – enough is enough.”

He urged the government to intervene. “We need the government to stand up. We want Cyril Ramaphosa, our president, to stand up!”

Violence erupts

Tensions between residents and gangs came to a head on Wednesday 26 February. This was at about 23:00, after a gathering was held and a prayer was said for Emaan Solomons (7) and others who were lost to gang warfare.

Residents alleged that the demonstration was led by a renowned group.

Residences in Ocean View were torched in a full-on attack against the gangs, in retaliation to the murders they have committed.

Fortuin said homes were set alight in Apollo Way, Alpha Way and Scorpio Road.

According to another resident who also would like to remain anonymous for fear of victimisation, the houses set on fire were those of the gang members identified by residents on the previous Sunday.

“To be honest, this is not the end of the Ocean View community. They’ve been holding Ocean View as a community hostage,” said the resident.

Police presence was beefed up in Ocean View on Thursday 27 February, following the violent demonstrations.

Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement: “The City of Cape Town has decided to direct some of the staff employed in terms of the Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (Leap), to support existing City enforcement services and police working in Ocean View to quell a flare-up of violence in recent days.”

Smith said the community should refrain from taking the law into their own hands.

Two caught for Emaan’s murder

“Two men, aged 19 and 27, were arrested following the murder of a seven-year-old girl who was caught in the crossfire between rival gangs in Libra Street, Ocean View,” Western Cape police spokesperson Brig Novela Potelwa said.

Eben Basson and Chivargo Fredericks also face a charge of the attempted murder of Anees Davis in the shooting on Tuesday.

The way forward

Fortuin said the anti-gang unit has confirmed that they will be in the area every day until further notice. He added: “We have requested the assistance of external role players, and JP Smith tasked members of law enforcement to be in the area as well.”

The provincial minister of the department of social development (DSD) condemned the violence. “We can no longer be the nation that is at war with its own children.”

She urges all residents of the province to make use of the DSD’s child protection services by calling 0800 220 250.

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