Residents hold vigil against violence

Lentegeur and Woodlands residents attended a candle vigil along Eisleben Road.

Hundreds of Mitchell’s Plain residents, who have been held hostage in their homes because of the last weeks’ gang shootings, lined either side of Eisleben Road, in Woodlands and Lentegeur, to voice their frustration at the situation.

At a candle vigil hosted by Lentegeur Community Police Forum (CPF) on Friday August 31, two grandmothers, who refused to be named, told the Plainsman that recent violence had reached epic proportions.

“Baie slegte dinge het in die kort tyd gebeur,” the one woman said.

“I was too scared to go to the shop and the children had to be kept indoors,” she said.

She said her grandchildren, who had to cross a field, early in the morning, had to sleep at her house for two nights.

Her neighbour said she sits with her rosary early in the morning praying for peace.

“It is the devil taking over. Tik houses must be turned upside down,” she said.

She said the police often arrested the youth selling the small packets of drugs, even though they knew where the drug houses were.

“The community is divided. If we don’t stand together nothing will come right,” she said, adding that drug abuse and dealing were happening in plain sight.

“There is no respect, I’ve been living here 38 years and this is the first time it is so bad,” she said.

Muslims made thikr and Christians sang, walking along Eisleben Road, talking to each other about living in a peaceful community.

Pastor Dean Ramjoomia, from Beacon Valley, called on residents to stop keeping secrets and being silent about crime in their community.

Mitchell’s Plain CPF spokesperson, Ashley Potts, said according to his knowledge, there had been nine murders within three days, in Lentegeur and Mitchell’s Plain.

Among some of the latest shootings, was an incident last Tuesday August 28 in which a man was shot in the head in Snapdragon Street, in Lentegeur. Two other men were also injured during the shooting.

The next day a petrol bomb was thrown at a house in Tulip Street, Lentegeur, at 10.32pm.

No one was injured but the police are investigating a case of arson.

On Thursday August 30 two men were shot in Edison Lane, in Woodlands; one of them died on the scene and the other at Groote Schuur Hospital.

At 6.52pm a man was shot dead at Promenade taxi rank.

Another man was shot two hours later between Grotto and Summit streets, in Tafelsig.

On Friday August 31, at 1.34pm, a man was shot dead in Olive Street in Eastridge.

“We must stop becoming accomplices of the crime and criminality in our community,” Mr Ramjoomia said, adding that getting the community back on track, started with everyone taking responsibility for themselves.

“How I treat you… my attitude will determine what I think of myself, whether I love, whether I am a man of love,” he said.

In Mitchell’s Plain, he said, “crime has penetrated everyone of our lives”.

“Domestic violence has de-
stroyed the fibre of our community. The violence and abuse against women and children, rape and the molestation of our children has taken out the heart of our community,” he added.

Byrone de Villiers, chairperson of Lentegeur CPF, asked that residents work with them to take a stand against the evil destroying the community.

“We as freedom-loving and law-abiding citizens will no longer tolerate this despicable behaviour within our community,” he said.

He said the vigil was the first of many programmes through which the community would take back their streets.

Lentegeur police station commander, Colonel Herman Seals, thanked the community for joining hands with the CPF.