Another bloody weekend

Ward 76 councillor Goawa Timm and Ricardo Mackenzie, a DA member of the provincial legislature, protest for the army to be sent to Mitchells Plain to quell gang violence.

With gang-related shootings and killings reaching an all-time high in Mitchell’s Plain, a stakeholders’ meeting has been called for this weekend to discuss and draft a safety plan for the area.

Between Thursday August 2 and Sunday August 5, there have been several shootings in Mitchell’s Plain with six people killed and 14 victims, including three children, aged 10, 13 and 14, having had to be rushed to hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds.

Police have confirmed that most of the shootings and killings were gang-related.

On Sunday August 5, a 35-year-old man was fatally shot in the chest in Sentinel Street, Tafelsig. On the same day another man, also 35, was found in Westpoort Drive, Westridge, with a gunshot to his head, while a 22-year-old man was found with three gunshot wounds to the head in Corridor Street, Tafelsig.

On Saturday August 4, police found a 33-year-old man who had been shot in his neck and head in Lindsay Street, Eastridge. On Friday August 3 a 26-year-old man was found in a backyard in Aandblom Street, Lentegeur, with a gunshot wound to his head.

On Thursday August 2, police found a 22-year-old man who was shot multiple times in Kreupelhout Street, Lentegeur.

This weekend’s meeting will be the second such meeting in less than two weeks to discuss the rampant gang violence in Mitchell’s Plain.

On Monday July 30 MEC for Social Development, Albert Fritz, briefed a multi-stakeholder meeting at Lentegeur police station, called to discuss the increasing gang violence. Although convened by Ricardo Mackenzie, a DA member of the provincial legislature and attended by Dan Plato, MEC for Community Safety, JP Smith, the City’s Mayco member for safety and security; and social services, local councillors and local SAPS leadership, no one from the Mitchell’s Plain Community Policing Forum (CPF) or the Lentegeur CPF were present.

The Plainsman was not allowed into the meeting while crime intelligence matters were being discussed. Mr Smith said afterwards that they were working closely with SAPS to curb gang violence.

“Planning operations are taking place at the moment and we are working closely with SAPS and the relevant task teams for the gang violence in Cape Town. Today we confirmed what resources we have available and how we can improve that, especially the number of police officers being visible,”Mr Smith said.

Mr Fritz added that they believed the army should be brought in to help stabilise the situation.

“One of the problems we have in the (department of) Social Development’s high care centre is (that) younger people are coming in, that are being used by gangsters to carry out the shooting and transport guns from one place to the other.”

He added that in Mitchell’s Plain few people came forward with information about guns in the community.

Mr Fritz said they had also discussed how children could be kept away from gangs by involving them in activities at school such as drilling or sport.

“We need to make things more exciting for young people again. We need to target those children who we are able to nurture and show them that there is life outside of Mitchell’s Plain,” he said.

He added that when young people were arrested, sending them to prison should be a last resort. Instead, social development structures should look for ways to assist the child. He also had words of advice for those who protect criminals: “Parents and neighbours protecting those doing the crime promote and perpetuate crime. Parents should take responsibility to assist us in solving crime and help the
child.

“The CPF, neighbourhood watch and street committees should continue to stand in the streets protecting those around them. We need those peacemakers as beacons in our community,” said Mr Fritz.

However, the local CPFs and neighbourhood watches said they had not been invited to the meeting. When the Plainsman asked Mr Mackenzie why the CPFs were not invited, he said an invitation had been issued to Major-General Johan Brand, Khayelitsha SAPS cluster commander who has an oversight role over the Mitchell’s Plain SAPS cluster.

Major-General Brand forwarded the invitation to Lucinda Evans, the chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain CPF cluster. Ms Evans apparently could not attend the meeting and tendered an apology.

The Plainsman tried to contact her to ask why she did not inform the local CPF structures, but we could not reach her for comment as she was in a meeting.

The chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain CPF, Abie Isaacs, said: “We were hoping to be invited to the meeting on (that) Monday as we too would have loved to share our ideas. It becomes difficult for us to respond to a meeting we weren’t invited to. We then ask ourselves if it’s relevant for CPFs to exist?”

Byron de Villiers, chairperson of the Lentegeur CPF, said: “How can they hold a meeting of that magnitude and not invite those who are representing the people? Having a plan is all good and well but extending it to the community is the most important part.”

Major-General Brand said partnerships needed to be built with the City to assist them in crime fighting as policing is not SAPS’ responsibility alone. “If there is one person killed, we all need to come together to solve it. On Saturday August 11, we will be discussing and drafting a safety plan for Mitchell’s Plain with the CPF, SAPS, councillors, NGOs, the Department of Community Safety and other government officials.”

Mr Mackenzie said the outcome of the July 30 meeting was to continue working together with police, Social Development and Community Safety and other role-players.

The DA in the meantime has renewed its call for the army to be brought into gang-ravaged communities. They protested early in the morning in Mitchell’s Plain last week.

Attempted murders between August 2 and August 5 include a shooting in Haakdoring Street, Lentegeur, where a 22-year-old man was shot in both arms. Bystanders, including a 10-year-old girl who was shot in her left leg and a 13-year-old boy who was shot in the face twice as well as a 24-year-old man, who was shot in his left ear, left side and both calves, had to be treated for their wounds.

Police made an arrest in connection with this shooting on the same day when Lentegeur police chased down a white Toyota Quantum with registration CA 996101. Three of the suspects ran away on foot while another four suspects were still driving the vehicle.

Police arrested the three other suspects at a house in Melbourne Way, Portland. Police recovered a silver 9mm Taurus. The four suspects in the vehicle were found in possession of 27 live 9mm
rounds.

Police are investigating cases of unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition. The suspects are aged 24, 19, 17, 25, 26, 27 and 22 years old. They are expected to appear in court soon.

In other attempted murders during this period, a 29-year-old man was shot in his left foot in Sentinel Street, Tafelsig, on Sunday August 5. A 21-year-old man was arrested in connection with this shooting.

Another attempted murder on the same day took place in 6th Avenue, Eastridge, where a 36-year-old man was shot in his lower back and a 14-year-old teen was shot in his left upper arm. On the same day a 17-year-old was taken to the hospital when he was shot at by three men while going to the shop. He sustained three gunshot wounds to his left leg.

In yet another shooting on Saturday August 4, on the corner of Peugeot and Cadillac streets, Beacon Valley, a man sustained a gunshot wound to his right buttock.

On Thursday August 2, a man was also shot in his legs and left hand in Waterlily Street, Lentegeur, while another shooting took place on the same day where four men between the ages of 18 and 24 were shot at in Eros Way, Woodlands. They were later taken to hospital for medical treatment. They did not want any criminal investigation on the matter.