'I am a skollie but my children don't starve', says Cape Flats man amid crime crackdown

2019-07-22 19:24
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Of guns and gangs: 21 pictures of SANDF troops finally patrolling the Cape Flats

The first wave of South African National Defence Force troops have finally landed in the Cape Flats - with soldiers receiving a hero's welcome by some people in Manenberg and Hanover Park.

"I am a skollie, but I make sure my children don't starve," says a burly Cape Town man, explaining why he has chosen a life of crime.

His confession is sketched against a backdrop of Anti-Gang Units, Stabilisation Units and the SA National Defence rolling through some of the city's so-called hot-spot suburbs. 

"Look at these hands," he says, holding them up in front of his face, claw-like.

"I am a carpenter, but do you think I can find work?" he asks, after threatening all sorts of trouble if a photograph of him is taken or he is identified.

In his thick slang, he explains in Afrikaans that once anybody is caught for any crime and has done any time, they can forget about applying for jobs in the formal economy.

"I have been to prison. I can put in the papers and I won't get the work.

"This laaitie (kid) here," he says, pointing to a boy standing next him.

"He will get a job. He has not been to prison. 

"But what about me? I'm a skollie. 

"But I make sure my children don't starve.

ALSO READ: Cop killed, two others seriously injured in Cape Town shooting 

"At the end of the day, it is up to me to put something on the table."

He was speaking after Cape Town's Stabilisation Unit showed DA leader Mmusi Maimane, and other party officials what they do to help curb the gang violence and crime that has escalated to the point of the SA National Defence Force arriving to assist in some suburbs of the Cape Flats.

The SANDF has joined the police as they conduct search and seize operations or carry out arrest warrants. 

Earlier, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said 25 people died this past weekend in the province as a result of murder, compared with 43 the weekend before.

Bonteheuwel councillor Angus McKenzie called it a "miracle" that nobody had been shot dead in the suburb, since the Stabilisation Unit was launched on July 2.

Many who are against the SANDF supporting the police feel that a social development approach would be better. 

Western Cape premier Alan Winde announced a range of measures last week that departments would implement, all aimed at improving the safety and well-being of the province's people.

ALSO READ: 'We will stop at nothing' - Sitole after arrest in Cape Town cop killing

These measures mean little to nothing to the burly skollie.

As he speaks, while standing outside a neat-looking house, a group of one, then two, then three men suddenly and inconspicuously expanded to at least 16 men, all wearing freshly washed and pressed clothing.

Women in the house that had seemed empty from the outside, left very discreetly while the man continued to speak to News24 on condition of anonymity, surrounded by the rest of the group.

"The government gives people AllPay, but what money is that," the man asked of the SA Social Security Agency's grants. 

"I know what I am doing is illegal, and is not right. But who is to blame for this? The government," he said.

"I want to change, but how?" he asked. 

He was reticent about sharing the nature of his conviction. 

Read more on:    sandf  |  cape town  |  crime
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