Gang war rages

Chairman of the Lentegeur CPF, Byron de Villiers urged the South African Police Service to step up and take control of their communities.

If you’re living in Lentegeur, you’re either going to be struck by a stray bullet, or you’ll test positive for Covid-19.

This is Lentegeur Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Byron de Villiers’ grim forecast for the area’s residents.

And not long after he made this comment, the running gun battles claimed another victim – a nine-year-old boy who was struck by a stray bullet while playing outside his house, in Waaihoek Street, Tafelsig, around 6.30pm on Monday June 8.

Mitchell’s Plain police station commander Captain Ian Williams said the shooting was gang-related and a case of attempted murder was being investigated.

Anyone with information can call investigating officer Detective Constable Jesse Phllips, from Mitchell’s Plain police station’s serious and violent crimes unit on 082 777 8076.

Between Monday June 1 and Friday June 5, there had been a murder and five attempted murders, he said.

“There have been so many shootings really. I have truly lost count. It is really a sad case,” he said.

A 10-year-old boy, a teenager, man and woman were injured during a shooting in Begonia Street, Lentegeur, on Wednesday June 3, at 10.45am.

The boy was shot in his thigh, the teenager, 15, was shot in his chest and stomach, the man, 33, was shot in his buttocks and the woman was shot in the leg.

Captain Williams confirmed that the police confiscated 16 cartridges and a projectile at the scene.

Detective Constable Jaquin Paulsen is investigating the four cases of attempted murder as well as the murder of a man, who was shot in the neck in Rooikrans Street Lentegeur on Thursday June 4, at 10.50pm. Two cartridges were found on the scene. No arrests have been made.

Also on his list of investigations is that of the attempted murder of another teenage boy, aged 13, who was injured during a drive-by shooting in Oasis Street Colorado Park on Monday June 1 at 10.10pm.

The boy was shot in his upper body, taken to hospital and discharged.

Commenting on the role of the CPF and neighbourhood watches during lockdown – and the ongoing shootings, Mr De Villiers said they had not yet had an annual general meeting (AGM) due to the implementation of the national Covid-19 lockdown and had been asked by station commander Colonel Errol Merkeur to continue serving the community.

He is, however, not convinced that neighbourhood watch members should be on the streets. “I can’t agree to sending our members out into this crisis,” he said.

“We are in the middle of a gang war and a pandemic, yet everyone is saying let the neighbourhood watches patrol.

“I fully understand that it is going to show visibility but what measures are in place for those members that will be patrolling?

“Doctors and nurses are being infected with all the measures in place to protect them.

“So either the virus gets you or a stray bullet (does),” he said.

On Friday June 5 deputy national commissioner for policing Lieutenant General Fannie Masemola issued a letter outlining conditions under which neighbourhood watches may operate following the move from Level 4 to Level 3 lockdown regulations.

The letter states that, in line with the regulations issued on Thursday May 28, neighbourhood watches may operate subject to their compliance with the directives of the Department of Health.

Watch members must at all times be in possession of valid permits, which are authorised by the Department of Community Safety.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, welcomed the announcement, but said the department would only issue permits to members of accredited neighbourhood structures.

“An extensive communication has been issued to the chairpersons of all accredited neighbourhood watch structures outlining the protocols that they must adhere to whilst operating.”

For any information on whether your structures can operate or on obtaining permits for members contact the department’s NHW unit by emailing Neighbourhood.Watch@westerncape.gov.za

BLOB Strandfontein police station was closed for hour hours for decontamination from Friday June 5 at 7.15pm.

Captain Williams said policing continued as complaints were attended to by the complaints vehicle.

“This ensured no disruption of policing services to the community.

“Social media platforms were used by the CPF to keep the community informed,” he said.

Strandfontein CPF chairwoman Sandy Schuter called on residents to be patient while the police station was being decontaminated.

“Please continue to observe all safety guidelines and physical distancing protocols as we navigate this pandemic,” she said.

Call 10111 for police emergencies; alternatively call 021 480 7700; or 112 for free calls via mobile calls for help.