‘No more value to life’

Strandfontein Community Police Forum members gather to go out on patrol on Friday September 21.

Mitchell’s Plain community police forums support a planned mass march on Parliament next week that will demand government end gang terror on the Cape Flats.

Gang wars in Mitchell’s Plain claimed six lives within 12 hours at the weekend.

Mitchell’s Plain, Lentegeur and Strandfontein community police forums are desperate after more shootings in each of their precincts on Saturday September 22.

A 19-year-old was shot dead in Wonderess Crescent, Beacon Valley, during the early hours.

At 11.20am, another man was shot and wounded opposite Searidge Park Primary School in Tafelsig.

Four hours later, a man was shot in Dennegeur Avenue, Strandfontein. He was taken to hospital, where he died.

Another man died in a shooting in Tafelsig.

Between 7pm and 9pm, three men were killed: a 19-year-old shot dead in Rainbow Street in Harmony Village; a man shot dead, and a man and woman wounded, in Azalia Street, Lentegeur; and a 26-year-old man shot dead in Kreupelhout Street, Lentegeur.

Gang-ravaged communities moved to shut down the city on Tuesday in protest against a wave of violence. And on Wednesday October 3, crowds are expected to gather from the corner of Keizersgracht and Christiaan Barnard streets, in Cape Town, from 10am, to stage a march to Parliament and the provincial legislature, demanding answers from government.

The march is organised by Western Cape Shutdown – a group of more than 20 civil bodies — and will call for an end to gangsterism, crime, violence, the abuse of women and children, rape and murder.

Mitchell’s Plain CPF chairman Abie Isaacs said they supported the march as they had exhausted all options to tackle gang violence.

“We need more police resources, and we need to know why there is an escalation in the possession of guns,” he said.

The CPF would also discuss the latest crime statistics with acting Mitchell’s Plein station commander Colonel Jacobus Philip Fredericks today Wednesday September 26, at 7pm, he said.

Lentegeur CPF chairman Byron de Villiers said he was angry people had to die like this. “There is no more value to life,” he said. “We feel that there is no plan to combat this war.”

The CPF would support protest action against gang violence, he said, as long it was done legally.

“If the right channels are followed and it is legal, we will by all means rally our communities to support the cause,” he said.

Strandfontein CPF held prayers for peace on Sunday and Monday, and chairwoman Sandy Shuter said they too supported the planned march.

The CPF played an oversight role over the police, she stressed, adding that she was due to meet deputy cluster commander Brigadier Mmagauta Letsoalo on Tuesday night to find out what the police’s gang strategy was.

“We don’t know what the plan of action is. No one is feeling the heartbeat of the community. The people are really tired; they have been crippled by fear,” she said.

Ms Schuter called on the police to be transparent with the CPF and work with it in the fight against crime.

“We need more visibility. We patrol at night, the early hours of the morning and during peak times, but we cannot be everywhere all of the time,” she said. “Our community wants answers.”

Provincial police spokeswoman Brigadier Novela Potelwa said each murder was one too many. Police stations would be stepping up crime-fighting operations, she said.

“In addition, operational deployments by members of Operation Thunder make significant inroads to serious and violent crime in the area.”

Operation Thunder was rolled out in May and saw more than 260 riot police deployed to gang war zones, including Mitchells Plain, Steenberg, Manenberg and Bishop Lavis.

Brigadier Potelwa said police could respond quickly to shooting incidents from the base camp in Tafelsig.

Community involvement and participation remained key to fighting gang violence, she said.

“The SAPS in the Western Cape remains committed eradicating violent crimes affecting local communities.”