Tense first school day

2018-10-16 06:01

Gunshots reverberated across Heideveld on the morning of Tuesday 9 October, as learners prepared for their first day of the new school term.

Angry residents say it is nothing new to the community and they have been battling for years with the government to deploy more police in the area during these times.

“Every year we have this issue, where gangs start fighting with each other during the start of a new school term, holidays, New Year or during sacred religious periods.

“We are tired of living in fear and our innocent children are slowly being gunned down because of this,” says Tertia Moses, a resident of Heideveld.

“We can’t even walk our children to school in the morning, without hearing gunshots. How are we supposed to go on with our daily lives? We really need more police presence in the area to keep gangs from terrorising residents in the community.”

Another resident says her children sometimes skip school for a few days because of the gang violence in the area.

“We are located just opposite Manenberg, which makes things even [worse]. These gangsters operate in between the two communities. Some of them even rob us while standing at bus stops,” says Mona Davids.

“These gangsters want residents to fear them and to jump to their beat. Many of us are afraid to respond to them when they threaten us, especially our innocent women and children.

“A lot of these gangsters also operate within schools, recruiting other young children to join their gangs.

“We need to stand together as a community to combat crimes done by these gangsters. We will not live better if we don’t stand up for our people’s rights and safety.”

Captain Ian Bennett, spokesperson for Manenberg Police Station, confirmed that several gunshots were fired on the morning that learners returned to school last week.

Bennett says a 39-year-old man was killed in crossfire between two rival gangs.

“The deceased was also member of a gang. According to eyewitnesses, he was chased by two men from an opposing gang. One of the men was armed with a pistol and chased him from Devil’s Peak Road into Anysberg Road,” he explains.

“The first shot made to the victim made him fall, and when he was down, the man with the pistol fired a shot to the back of the victim’s head.

“This was done in broad daylight in front of many people who were on their way to work and school.”

The suspects fled the scene on foot. A case of murder has been opened for investigation and no arrests have been made yet.

With ongoing gang violence in surrounding communities, Bennett adds Manenberg police’s crime prevention members are deployed within the precinct, and are tasked daily with stop-and-searches during high-density patrols.

V Anyone with information regarding the shooting incident in question should call Manenberg Police Station on 021 699 9400 or Crime Stop on 086 001 0111.

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