Enough is enough - Manenberg residents

2015-01-21 13:57
(File: News24)

(File: News24)

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Cape Town - Instead of the familiar echo of bullets, the sound of dozens of Manenberg residents chanting “enough is enough” could be heard on Tuesday evening through the streets notorious for the recent spate of gang violence.

Ground Up reported that local schools were disrupted several times last year and forced to close their doors to ensure the safety of staff and learners.

According to the social media group, Manenberg gangwatch, there have been more than 10 fatal gang related murders since December, with even more reported shooting cases.

As learners across the Western Cape returned to school on Wednesday, Manenberg parents say they are concerned for the safety of their children, fearing they will be caught in the crossfire between rival gangs.

According to police spokesperson Frederick van Wyk no incidents of gang activity were reported on Wednesday.

“We had about 50 officers conducting patrols along with traffic patrols and law enforcement officials at each school. These patrols will be done for the next two weeks in the mornings [as well as] afternoons between 13:00 and 16:00,” he said.

Nearly 200 community members, including children, took to the streets last night to call for an end to the ongoing gang violence.

“We want to go to school,” shouted a group of young boys who were leading the march.

The group of community members, accompanied by three police vans, made a point of walking and chanting through areas where gang activity is rife.

During the 30 minute march, some community members stood in the streets while others hung out of the windows of the flats to watch.

“This is how we let the gangsters know that we are sick and tired of the shootings. We taking back our streets and we want them to know it. My daughter is started Grade 1 and I don’t want it to be spoilt by shooting,” said Wayeedah Abrahams.

The mother of two said the gang violence also made it difficult for people to go to work.

Abrahams’s 6-year-old daughter, Haisa, who attends Rio Grand Primary, will have to cross a field notorious for being a gang battleground.

“When they shoot, the taxis refuse to come into Manenberg and we can’t get to work. We also scared to walk because we might get shot. These gangsters shoot during the day. They don’t care,” another resident shouted.

Community meeting

Hours earlier, about 300 residents attended a meeting called by the Manenberg Community Safety Forum held at the Anglican Church in Manenberg Avenue.

Members of the forum have been involved in peace mediation with rival gangs over the past few months. They have been running weekly meetings for the past six months in the community to address violent crimes.

At Tuesday's meeting, a number of concerns were raised about the safety of children returning to school.

A request was made for all parents and grandparents to walk with their children to school to ensure their safety.

However, concerns were raised about how effective this plan would be and how long it would last as some parents had to leave for work.

The forum’s Rugshanda Pascoe said it was time for residents to take the initiative and show the gangsters they’ve had enough of the violence.

“These are our children, our neighbours, our family that are now involved in the gangs. We as a community can’t keep turning a blind eye. Our children’s education is more important than whatever they [gangsters] are fighting for,” she said.

Pascoe said they could not depend on police solely for protection.

Read more on:    cape town  |  education  |  crime

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