‘Pray for violence to end’

2016-09-27 06:00
Pastors from different churches joined by community members from Lavender Hill came together to pray asking for peace over their area following a spate of shootings. They are calling for shootings in the community to end and say as church leaders they are taking a stand. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

Pastors from different churches joined by community members from Lavender Hill came together to pray asking for peace over their area following a spate of shootings. They are calling for shootings in the community to end and say as church leaders they are taking a stand. PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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Several shooting over the last week have left Lavender Hill residents on high alert.

The ongoing gang shootings have continued, despite attempts by the police to bring the perpetrators to book. Now, the religious community has called for peace.

In a recent shootings, a 17-year-old girl was killed after she was shot in the face on Monday 19 September, near two local primary schools.

Steenberg police spokesperson Warrant Officer John Bartlett says police received a complaint of a body lying in a passage between Levana and Hillwood primary schools.

On their arrival they found the victim, Mishka April of Village Heights.

The victim sustained a gunshot wound to her face, Bartlett says, and four cartridges were found on the scene.

“According to a witness, gunshots (were heard) at 02:00 but he couldn’t see anything. A case of murder has been opened for investigations and no arrests have been made,” says Bartlett.

In an effort to do their part in trying to bring peace to the community, pastors from different churches came together to pray for the area.

The Prayer Intercession and Healing Network (PIAHN) ministries came together at Constitution Court to pray for the area on Saturday 24 September. This is a network of pastors and churches that have come together to pray for peace and quiet to prevail in that area.

“The purposes of this 24 hour prayer network is to unite the body of Christ in prayer with one heart, mouth and one spirit for God the Father to transform the community of Lavender Hill. We as the pastors decided to come out and pray because the shooting affect us as well. It affects churches, schools and the community.

The violence has left the community scared to go to church or to school, says pastor Basil Leukes. “We are going to stand in prayer and make sure that comes to an end. We want all pastors in this area to come on board so that we stand united in prayer to see an end to this violence.”

The prayer for peace and quiet opened old wounds for some parents who lost children in these shootings.

Jacqueline Haydricks (50) says her son was shot last Christmas. “He was part of the Junky Funkies and he was shot at home. As a parent I spoke to him about this and he said to me it was too late for him to come out now. If he came out they will kill him. He was shot right at our doorstep and when I opened the door he was lying there in a pool of blood. There was nothing I could do; he was dead. Though I try to move on, each time I hear shootings I’m so scared. I worry about my kids. I pray to God that let not another child of mine be shot again,” she says.

Another parent, Elmarie Moonsamy, says they live in constant fear. “We yearn for peace in this area. We want our children to study and be educated and not to go to school fearing that they will be shot. Gang wars and shooting are an everyday thing. When shooting starts you get so confused that (you look for your children) because you don’t want them to be caught (in it). A lot of people have died and we just want peace in this area,” she says.

Attending the prayer session as well was Steenberg police station commander Colonel Jan Alexander who said they are still positive and they will still maintain zero tolerance against crime.

“Our call goes out to community members. They should come out and strengthen the arm of the police. They should report crime and we have the systems in place to protect them. Community members must also understand that we strongly work according to crime patterns and they determine our actions. We ensure maximum visibility by doing foot patrols, vehicle patrols, stop and search as well as searching of premises. I would like to encourage the community seeing that we are in the days of living in partnership to come out and help us. We are happy about what the pastors have started and we want communities to come on board,” he says.

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