Gangs smash Hyde Park residents’ windows

Residents of Hyde Park had their windows smashed.

Tafelsig residents have had enough of gang violence after the windows of more than 15 homes were smashed over the past week during the ongoing violence in Hyde Park and Lost City.

Residents are forced to duck and dive in their homes and streets, in Sharon and Tafelberg streets during the day and night. They are urging Mitchell’s Plain police to take action as they no longer feel safe in the area.

On Tuesday August 30 windows in both these streets were smashed by gangsters, leaving residents traumatised.

A Tafelsig resident who did not want to be named, said all her front windows had been smashed with stones on Tuesday.

The woman has two children under the age of 10 living in the house and fears for their lives.

“Honestly, I fear for my life and my children. The gangsters don’t only shoot in the area, but damage our homes. We have to constantly replace the windows and fencing because they either get damaged or stolen.

“My children are so young and they have to listen to the gunshots and see how these young people fight,” she said.

She said the gangsters become violent during the day, especially when pupils were dismissed from school.

“The gangsters have no respect, they start shooting at around 1pm and 2pm. I have to crawl across the field when I fetch my children because we will either be hit by a bullet or stones.

“There are times when my children will be playing on the stoep and would run into the house to tell me that the gangsters are fighting. We then have to move to the back of the house,” she said.

A 70-year-old pensioner who has lived in the area for more than 10 years said she had to brick up her windows in the front section of her home five months ago because they keep getting smashed.

“I am a pensioner, I can’t keep replacing my windows. It is expensive. My house is on the corner, so it is an easy target.

“I have had three gates thus far because they keep stealing it. I even covered the one gate with material so that the stones don’t enter my house, but still they tried to break that too. All we are asking is that the police help us. We want to feel safe in our homes,” she said.

Station commander for Mitchell’s Plain police station, Brigadier Cass Goolam, said the police are aware of the incidents and had intervened at the time.

“In attending to the complaint, we discovered residents showing partiality to the two gangs to which some of the youth (suspects) are aligned. We have met with a member of the street committee of Tafelberg who undertook to arrange a meeting with affected residents with a view to strengthen the relations among residents but also strengthen partnership between residents and police,” he said.

Brigadier Goolam said on Friday September 2 a special operation was held in Hyde Park area where they brought in gang leaders for questioning. He said they confiscated R23 000 cash from one gang leader for further investigation as he couldn’t explain where he got the money.

In the same operation another gang leader was arrested with a consignment of stolen property and police ID.

“It is our view that the youth involved in these cases are aligned to either gang. Hence the pressure the police is putting on gang leaders.

“It is important to take note that some of the residents that are implicated complained against the police action as the operation took place very early in the morning and they felt that they were being harassed. We will, however, continue with the operations and continue to build a positive relationship with the community,” he said.

Mitchell’s Plain Community Police Forum chairperson, Abie Isaacs, said the forum condemned the actions of the gang groupings and urged residents to report the incidents. “Residents need to be active, they need to form street and block committees to sweep the gangsters out of their streets. By accepting gang violence, it will only get worse. Innocent people are getting hurt and killed, but it will only stop if people take action.

“There is a sector commander that is active in the area that residents can contact, he will help organise and set up the street committee,” he said.

* Captain Raymond Solomons is the sector commander for the area and he can be contacted on 082 522 2644. Mitchell’s Plain police station can be contacted at 021 370 1600.