Anti-Gang Unit makes arrests following Christmas Eve killings of woman, 2 children in Cape Town

2018-12-27 13:00
Anti-Gang Unit (Jenni Evans, News24)

Anti-Gang Unit (Jenni Evans, News24)

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WATCH: 1 dead, 1 injured in Valhalla Park gang-related shooting

2018-10-11 17:46

One person has been shot dead and another injured in a gang-related shooting in Valhalla Park, Cape Town. Watch.WATCH

The Anti-Gang Unit (AGU) has arrested five people after two children and a woman were killed, and five people wounded, in drive-by shootings in Cape Town's Bishop Lavis on Christmas Eve. 

Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said they were arrested in an operation that started in Athlone in the early hours of Thursday. 

"In the early hours of this morning, the members descended on an informal settlement in Athlone, where they arrested a 23-year-old suspect and seized several items including medical supplies, R29 000 in cash, cellphones and a gas welder with regulators," said Potelwa. 

"Six other suspects are currently being questioned by police. While busy with the search, information led the team to two more suspects wanted for a murder and an attempted murder case that occurred in Bishop Lavis in October 2018. The suspects in their twenties were subsequently arrested.

"In the last leg of the operation, AGU members drove to near-by Kreefgat in Bonteheuwel, where they arrested two other suspects - both aged 27 - for the shooting incident where two children died on December 24, 2018, in Bishop Lavis."

Community Safety MEC Alan Winde said the children killed in Bishop Lavis were six years old and four years old. 

ALSO READ: Cape Town's children - a generation at gang gunpoint

In another shooting in the same area, a 56-year-old woman was killed and three people were injured.

They are being treated in hospital.

"I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the families who lost their loved ones in these cowardly attacks.

'No outcry, no national media attention'

"I encourage community members to share any additional information they might have with the [police], so that any outstanding suspects can be arrested. We will track all cases, as we have to ensure that these heartless criminals face the full might of the law and, once found guilty, are sentenced to lengthy jail terms."

He commended the police for their swift action in making the arrests.

A number of people were also taken in for questioning after the shootings. 

Potelwa said the five people would appear in court in Bishop Lavis soon.

Meanwhile, a group of shocked and angry residents planned to picket at the Bishop Lavis police station on Thursday.

They feel nobody is paying attention to the horrors they have to live with.

READ: Gang member nabbed for terrorising Cape Flats community for years

"No outcry, no national media attention. Now imagine two children get killed in, say for instance, Constantia. There would have been an outcry," read a statement issued ahead of the picket.

Bishop Lavis picket

One of the picket organisers, Abdul Karriem Matthews, told News24 they want the permanent deployment of a Tactical Response Team in the area, and a police station dedicated to Bonteheuwel, which adjoins Bishop Lavis.

Currently Bonteheuwel's policing is handled by Bishop Lavis police, who are already under immense pressure, he said. 

Matthews said the AGU also needed more members, as there were not enough to cope with the scale of the gang-related crimes.

They should also be permanently based in the communities they were policing, he said. 

The picketers also want law enforcement authorities to apply the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA) more stringently to crack down on gang activity.

Police relied on finding evidence, such as a gun or drugs, Matthews said, adding that the police should also focus their attention on indications of gang allegiance, such as groups of people who have gang tattoos. He said that preventiing such allegiances was covered in POCA, and that the police should also focus on this.

In addition, the socio-economic problems driving some of the alleged gang activity, such as poverty and dropping out of school to join a gang, must also be addressed urgently. 

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