Poor numbers for march not a deterrent

2016-02-09 10:33
A group of children walk in front of a marching procession down Klipfontein corridor, holding posters in support of the campaign #GangsterismMustFall, on Saturday.

A group of children walk in front of a marching procession down Klipfontein corridor, holding posters in support of the campaign #GangsterismMustFall, on Saturday. (Chevon Booysen )

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A march expected to lure hundreds of people turned out to be a disappointment on Saturday as a small group of people pitched on the day.

The #GangsterismMustFall campaign kicked off its march on Saturday morning starting outside the Manenberg police station with less than 100 people, despite piquing the interest of people via social media. Transport was also organised for those coming from other communities.
The march, which was held in solidarity with the Boltman family of slain 10-year-old Jayden Smith, took place while the funeral was held in Parkwood.
The marchers were, however, not deterred by their small number while they yelled slogans, such as “An injury to one is an injury to all” and “We want drug-free and gang-free communities”, as the march proceeded in soaring temperatures. The marchers went down the Klipfontein corridor and finished at the Athlone civic centre.
Convenor Roscoe Jacobs, from Hout Bay, says the group that gathered on the day should not be discouraged.
“This campaign is about addressing the root causes that are perpetuating gangsterism. This is the culture of what makes gangsterism thrive in our communities and these are the issues we want to address and have to address,” Jacobs said on Saturday after the march.
Before the march, Jacobs sent out a statement accusing the mayor and premier of helping to “cultivate the moral decay in which gang culture thrives”.
“#GangsterismMustFall condemns the failure of the Cape Town mayor and Western Cape premier to respond to the request to collect the memorandum of gang-ridden communities. This failure substantiates our view that government lacks the political will to address the culture of gangsterism which perpetuates and continues in Cape Town,” the statement reads.
The memorandum, compiled and contributed to by various community members, was handed to a representative of the mayor’s office. Elgan Fortune, community facilitator of the mayor’s office, accepted and signed the memorandum outside the Athlone civic centre.
The mayor was tasked to give feedback on the demands set out in the memorandum within 10 days.
Roegshanda Pascoe, Manenberg community police forum chairperson, who attended the march says “the process is long overdue”.
“Our communities have to unite and, though this will not happen overnight, we still need to take a stand. We need to keep our government accountable as these gangsters are preying on the vulnerable,” Pascoe says.
She adds that communities are as accountable for gangsterism ripping communities apart, saying that parents who harbour gangster children should report them.
Quinton Langeveldt from Kensington, representing the Acre Road Community Safety Patrol, says in their community “there is only one government and it is that of the gangsters”.
“There is no government there as these gangs do as they please in our community with little or no repercussions. These gangs are recruiting faster than our army and they have better tactics. We need to make gangsterism unattractive to our children,” he says.
Langeveldt urges communities to “fight the system of gangsterism, instead of gangsters”.
“We have to look at the root causes of gangsterism and tackle those issues. Gangs and their members will fall by themselves,” he says. 
Hanif Loonat, chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain community police forum cluster, says communities “should not be complacent”.
“We need to become proactive and take back our communities. Those who decided to stay home for no reason: to you I say that you are no different from these evil people who hold us hostage. We have the most hypocritical communities in this country. We blame everybody besides ourselves for the challenges we experience. We are the architects of our own undoing. We are leaving a legacy that our future generations are going to hold us responsible for,” Loonat says.

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