Police, army swarm streets of gang-ridden Manenberg

2015-05-21 16:29
(File: News24)

(File: News24)

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Cape Town - Continued calls for army intervention in the gang-ridden Manenberg community were answered when a convoy of defence force, SAPS and Metro police members swarmed the streets in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Homes were searched, three guns were confiscated and four suspects were nabbed in Operation Fiela, which focused on illegal firearms and drugs.

According to police, the integrated operation is part of a broader plan to clamp down on crime and gang violence in the area.

The area has been plagued by sporadic gang shootings in recent months.

Those woken up by the commotion before dawn said the intervention could not have come sooner.

“It’s about time!” Marietta Cloete yelled as a police vehicle drove by in Duinefontein Road this morning.

“Come kick out the gangsters who keep us locked in our homes. They are making out lives hell!”

The mother of three said if she had a choice, she wouldn’t live in “this dumping ground”.

“The gangsters and the drug dealers run these streets. They prey on our children and people who are desperate for cash. And here in Manenberg, everyone is desperate for cash.”

She sent her oldest son to live with her mother in Kensington after she found 10 "dagga stoppe" in his school bag last year.

“The local merchant gave him R100 to drop it on the other side of Manenberg for him. When I asked him why he took it, he told me the skollie [thug] promised him that next time he would buy him a pair of shoes.

“Do you know how hard it is to raise a child here, especially boys? Only a few move on or make something of themselves. The others become gangsters or tikkoppe.”

'The children don’t play in the street anymore'

Resident Charmaine Ellis told News24 the area had been a war zone for as long as she could remember.

“I grew up in these streets and Manenberg has never been a peaceful suburb,” she said.

“But for the past two years things have gotten out of hand. The children don’t play in the street anymore. The adults no longer stand and chat on the corners.

"Parents are afraid to send their little ones to school. How do you build a community when you live under such conditions?”

Her brother was killed three years ago near Manenberg Avenue, referred to by locals as Die Laan.

“He was a gangster and he was shot for his sins. The guns he helped smoke [smuggle] on the streets got him killed,” she said.

“I remember the day after he died it rained. My mother told me: ‘Ja Mainey, nou loop jou broer se bloed by die strate af wat hy so deurmekaar gemaak het’ [Yes Mainey, now your brother's blood runs in the streets that he made so messy].

"She never denied knowing what he was, but most of these people who are crying for the army to come clean up the streets are the ones who sleep with the gangster’s rifles under their beds.

“Everybody knows what’s going on, but they refuse to do anything about it.”

But community leader Roegshanda Mohammed said no amount of police raids or arrests would change the situation in Manenberg unless residents and parents pointed out those causing the problems.

“They call the police, but when the cops arrive nobody witnessed anything. People demand justice, then they are too scared to speak up.

"It’s time for the parents to acknowledge what their kids are doing. Those hiding the weapons used to kill our people need to own up that they are part of the problem.

“Those who don’t blow the whistle are the ones with the blood on their hands.”

Read more on:    police  |  sandf  |  cape town  |  crime

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