Safety forum decries 'urban terror' after six shot dead in three days in Mitchells Plain

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Mitchells Plain residents are fearful as killings continue.
Mitchells Plain residents are fearful as killings continue.
Samantha Lee-Jacobs
  • Six people have been killed in three days in Mitchells Plain.
  • Leader of the Cape Flats Safety Forum, Abie Isaacs, has labelled this "urban terror".
  • Isaacs has called for the deployment of more officers to Mitchells Plain.

"Urban terror" were the words a crime activist used to describe the gun violence which claimed the lives of six people in three days on the streets of Mitchells Plain.

"I have been saying this for the past two, three years. There is urban terror in Mitchells Plain and on the Cape Flats and it seems there is no will to deal with this," said Abie Isaacs, the former chairperson of the Mitchells Plain Community Police Forum and leader of the Cape Flats Safety Forum.

READ | 13-year-old killed, other teens injured in Mitchells Plain

He believes there is only one person who can deal with the bullets and bloodshed that is plaguing the Cape Flats: former Mitchells Plain police cluster commander, Major General Jeremy Vearey.

On Saturday, four men aged 30, 36, 37 and 64, were shot at close range in Maureen Street, Lost City, Mitchells Plain. A 37-year-old man was also shot but survived, police spokesperson Colonel André Traut said.

Fled

"It is alleged that unknown suspects opened fire at the group of five and fled the scene on foot," he said.

Detectives are investigating the shooting. No arrests have been made.

The mass killing came two days after a 13-year-old boy and 18-year-old man were shot dead and three teenagers were injured in Beacon Valley, also in Mitchells Plain.

READ | Four more killed in Mitchells Plain

Gunmen in a white vehicle allegedly opened fire on the children at about 20:50 on Thursday on the corner of Cadillac and Riley Streets.

Around the corner, the body of an 18-year-old man was found with gunshot wounds to his neck. He was declared dead at the scene.

On Monday, Isaacs called for the deployment of more officers to Mitchells Plain.

"But in addition to more resources, I believe there is one person who can bring stability back to Mitchells Plain – Major General Jeremy Vearey, the man they keep denying [the province's top job]. He walks the streets. He knows these streets. He is proof that partnership policing works."

Isaacs said infighting, politics and factionalism aside, he believed that Vearey would be able to bring stability to the provincial police and help bring the carnage on the Cape Flats under control.

In 2019, Vearey was a favourite to take over as provincial commissioner. However, he didn't make the shortlist because he had ostensibly not included proof of his qualifications in his application, which he disputed.

A former Umkhonto we Sizwe operative and ex-bodyguard of former president Nelson Mandela, he is currently the province's head of detectives.

Lieutenant General Yolisa Mokgabudi (formerly Matakata) was appointed two years ago. She has since stepped down after she was appointed acting Crime Intelligence commander.

READ | Sitole appoints veteran cop to lead Crime Intelligence as chaos reigns

Western Cape acting provincial commissioner, Major General Thembisile Patekile, said on Monday that there was "alarmingly high levels of serious violent crimes that are driven by the proliferation of illegal firearms", following his assessment of crime patterns within the province.

In addition to the murders in Mitchells Plain, two officers were shot dead in Bloekombos, Kraaifontein in the early hours of Sunday; two men were shot dead and two others were seriously injured when they were attacked by two gunmen in Thubelitsha, Delft, also on Sunday morning; while two teenaged brothers were shot dead in Site B, Khayelitsha on Sunday afternoon.

"In all these crime incidents and other murders recorded earlier in the week, firearms were utilised," said provincial police spokesperson Novela Potelwa.

"This reaffirms Major General Patekile's resolve of ridding certain identified communities of the Western Cape of illegal firearms that contribute to violent crimes."

Potelwa said Patekile was "adamant intensified policing initiatives with community involvement will go a long way towards ensuring all communities are and feel safe".

"In the past week, 30 illegal firearms and rounds of ammunition were seized with several arrests effected in various operations undertaken throughout the Western Cape."

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