Hanover Park residents demand answers from police after 4-year-old girl shot in head

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A deserted park near Pelikaan Court in Hanover Park.
A deserted park near Pelikaan Court in Hanover Park.
Tammy Petersen
  • A four-year-old girl has been shot in the head during an alleged gang shooting in Hanover Park.
  • Four others were injured in the same attack.
  • The incident has left the community feeling unsafe and laying blame at the feet of law enforcement agencies.

Another suspected gang shooting, which left a four-year-old girl wounded, has left the community of Hanover Park questioning local law enforcement structures.

Five people were shot and wounded on Thursday night at around 17:30, at Algoa Court, in the gang-ridden Cape Flats suburb. 

Western Cape police said in addition to the four-year-old victim, two women, aged 29 and 35, a 15-year-old girl, as well as a 26-year-old man were also taken to hospital with gunshot wounds.

The gunmen fled the scene, but a 20-year-old suspect was arrested on Friday. Police were still searching for the weapon and other possible suspects, said police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut.

"The motive for the incident is yet to be established, however, it is suspected that the incident is linked to the ongoing gang violence in the area," said Traut.

READ | FEEL GOOD: Makeshift library a safe haven for Cape Town children living in gang hotspot

Hanover Park Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Ebrahim Abrahams said the shooting was part of an internal gang conflict in the area.

"Unfortunately, innocent people were injured in the crossfire," he said.

He added that the girl had been shot in the head and was "in a very bad condition".

Abrahams hinted that law enforcement were not on top of crime in the area.

Ward councillor Antonio van der Rheede believes a change in management at the Philippi police station, under which Hanover Park falls, could be adding to the increased violence in the area.

Van der Rheede added that he had written to the provincial police commissioner to request the reinstatement of the former acting station commander.

He also added concerns that police were not effectively using the 80 Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers deployed to the suburb.

Abrahams said the shooting was a daily occurrence, with children not attending school due to Covid-19, most at risk.

He said: 

There's shooting here every day. There's supposed to be law enforcement agencies in the area. They have their own plan, and the community doesn't know where it fits in. Hanover Park has been a red zone for the last few months.

"The law enforcement agencies are not prepared to work with the communities. [The community] is frustrated."

Van der Rheede added that while the community might feel frustrated, law enforcement agencies were often limited in sharing their strategies to prevent the sharing of sensitive information.

"It's tragic what's happening in Hanover Park at the moment. People are dying on SAPS' watch," he said.

"Currently, the community does not feel safe."

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