Elsies River murders: Residents, children march on Heritage Day after violence spike

2019-09-25 12:27
Elsies River residents marched against violence following the murders of three children and a teenager. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

Elsies River residents marched against violence following the murders of three children and a teenager. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

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More than 150 people, mostly children, marched through the streets of Elsies River on Heritage Day calling for an end to violence, GroundUp reported.

Organised by activist group #UniteBehind, the protesters sang struggle songs and chanted: "Genoeg is genoeg, ons is moeg (Enough is enough, we are tired)," and: "Down with killing, down. Down with murder, down," on Tuesday.

The march stopped briefly in Clarkes Estate, outside the property where three children and a teenager were killed in gang-related violence on September 17. There, community leaders spoke and called for residents to join the fight against violence. The wendy house where they were killed has since been removed.

#UniteBehind activist Tamron January, who is also an Elsies River resident, said they were marching through the area to tell gangsters and the government that they were fed up. January said the crime rate in the community was "ridiculous".

According to the 2019 crime statistics, there were 90 murders in Elsies River - a large increase from previous years (58, 65 and 54 in 2016, 2017 and 2018 respectively).

Army deployment

In July, the South African National Defence Force was deployed to gang-ridden hotspots on the Cape Flats, including Elsies River, to assist with police operations. The deployment was meant to end in September but it has been extended to March 2020.

Protest against crime.

#UniteBehind member Ben Poole said his friend "JJ" was murdered last year. (Ashraf Hendricks, GroundUp)

Bevin Poole is an 18-year-old #UniteBehind youth activist. He said one of his best friends, 17-year-old JJ, was shot and murdered in Elsies River last year.

"He was like a brother to me".

Poole said losing his friend was "an eye opener" and communities needed to come together to fight violence.

"We've had enough killing. We've had enough violence. We've had enough murders," he said.

"[On] every corner there's gangsters," said a 13-year-old girl who joined the march.

She said she had to walk 20 minutes to school with her 7-year-old sister, and strange men sometimes called out her name and called her "sweetie pie".

"I don't feel safe," she said.

The march was supported by members of Right2Know and the Bishop Lavis Action Community.

Read more on:    cape town  |  crime  |  protests
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