No arrests after Bonteheuwel woman shot as gang violence spirals "out of control'

2018-09-20 18:45

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Western Cape police say there have been no arrests after a woman was shot in the stomach in Bonteheuwel, east of Cape Town, after she got caught in a crossfire believed to be linked to gang rivalry over drug sales on Wednesday.

"It is completely out of control. The community is reeling at the moment," said local DA councillor Angus McKenzie who told News24 that Wednesday's shooting was the third since Sunday.

The woman is understood to be in critical condition, with her mother asking that people pray for her.

McKenzie said that on Tuesday he counted 40 shots fired in quick succession in the area.

"Not to be animated, but it's bang, bang, bang, bang, bang," he said.

The suburb is situated between Langa and Bishop Lavis and part of it skirts the N2 to Cape Town International Airport.

According to McKenzie:

  • On Sunday night three people were shot in a drive-by shooting. One person was killed, one was shot in the stomach and one in the leg; 
  • Monday was "quiet";
  • On Tuesday morning the 40 shots rang out but no fatalities were reported. In the evening, more shots were heard and one person was found to have been shot in the stomach, and two people in the leg; and
  • On Wednesday morning the young woman was shot.

He said the shooting took place near a primary school where children, staff and parents congregate for drop-offs and pick-ups. A reading centre for young children has already been closed because of safety concerns.

"The shooting is happening in broad daylight," he said.

"It is purely gang-related shootings. It boils down to a war of drug turf. It is one gang versus the next gang to be able to sell drugs."

According to McKenzie, Bonteheuwel only has a satellite police station where a constable confirms affidavits. This means police have to rush over from the Bishop Lavis police station whenever there is an incident, and are not able to keep up regular patrols.

The Bishop Lavis precinct's policing area is vast and includes Bonteheuwel, Montana, Valhalla Park and Charlesville.

McKenzie said that in addition to a dedicated police station for Bonteheuwel, part of the solution to the violence would be for Crime Intelligence find out who was causing the gang instability.

Violence only in a 'pocket' of Bonteheuwel

A neighbourhood watch and walking bus (adults guarding children on foot as they walk to school and back) are active in the area, but are not armed, and have been warned to be extra vigilant.

"Do the police not see the seriousness of the matter?" he asked.

Provincial community safety MEC Dan Plato said that he was told that the victim was in her early twenties and had been transferred from a local clinic to a hospital.

He said he understood that the violence, between the Hard Livings and Playboys gangs, was only in a "pocket" of Bonteheuwel and that the gang members disappeared whenever they spotted police.

"We want the police to act, and arrest [people], and contain the situation," said Plato, who has been announced as the new mayor of Cape Town, taking over from Patricia de Lille who leaves at the end of October.

The South African Police Service told News24 that the circumstances surrounding this incident were currently being investigated. 

"Yesterday at around 12:15 a 28-year-old female was shot and wounded in Candlewood Street, Bonteheuwel, by an unknown suspect who is yet to be arrested," Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said.

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