It’s “war” on the Cape Flats

“We are living in fear” says Lentegeur Community Policing Forum chair

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Photo of police
The Anti-gang Unit was launched in Cape Town on 2 November 2018. The Western Cape has the highest rate of gang violence in South Africa. Photo: Ashraf Hendricks

Two months into 2019, the death toll for the year in Bonteheuwel rose to 18 on Tuesday after a 26-year-old man died from “a gunshot wound to the upper body” according to police. A case of murder and attempted murder is being investigated said Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana of SAPS.

“We are calling it the war in our back streets” says Henriette Abrahams, a community leader. Since Christmas, Bonteheuwel has seen a spate of gang violence.

“It’s a drug turf war” says Abrahams. Gangs are fighting to broaden their turf and they are “pulling in children to do their dirty work”.

Over the last month In Mitchells Plain, 25 people have died in what appears to also be gang-related violence. Mitchells Plain precinct has the second highest number of reported crimes in South Africa.

On Tuesday evening, a consultative meeting to discuss safety was held with the Mitchells Plain community, its leaders, members of the Mitchells Plain community policing forum (CPF), SAPS and Correctional Services. The meeting was chaired by Lennit Max, Bheki Cele’s special advisor. About 70 people attended the meeting.

“Currently we are living in fear”, said Byron de Villiers, chairperson of the Lentegeur CPF. “We’re calling it a war because that’s what it is”.

Basil Coetzee, a community activist, said that the community should move from criminal justice to “people’s justice”. Coetzee said that the current justice system favoured criminals. He said police should be rotated. “When gangsters are on first name terms with police officers, I worry,” he said. “It’s a relationship that should not be there”.

TOPICS:  Crime Gangs Policing

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