Teens call a truce

Magadien Abrahams, community worker, helps facilitate peace talks.

Warning gunshots rung out as a police officer dispersed a crowd of Tafelsig teenagers throwing stones at each other and his official vehicle.

This was after a public meeting on the corner of Langeberg and Piketberg roads, in Tafelsig, on Monday January 21, when two groups of teenagers shook hands and agreed to stop throwing stones at each other.

The stone-throwing between the youngsters has injured passengers on a Golden Arrow bus, innocent bystanders and left their community living in fear.

Incidents in recent weeks resulted in a woman being taken to Groote Schuur, where she was in the intensive care unit, and the police’s anti-gang unit being called in to diffuse situations.

The teens had moved to a house in Winterhoek Street to which they called community workers to facilitate peace talks in the drive-way.

The Plainsman was privy to the talks but no names were given to ensure the youths’ safety.

A speaker from one of the groups said: “Al wat ons nou moet doen is wat die community verlang, en wat die polisie nou en die mas gevra het.”

He said they were willing for bygones to be bygones and looked forward to playing soccer with each other: “Wat gaan ons benefit van die K*K, sorry dat ek vloek, ons gaan vrek. Jy gat nie ’* hero wees nie. Jy gat nie ’* diploma kry nie. Jy gat nie ’* medal kry nie. Jy is niemand se hero nie. Jy dink jy is ’* hero maar jy gat ook vrek soos ’* hero.”

He called for unity.

Another youth said he asked each of his friends, who said they were prepared to make peace.

“Ek het gehoor by hulle (the other side) dat hulle ook so dit wil * ê.

“Dan as dit so is dan agree ons. Ons wil peace * ê,” he said.

However, after the meeting, one of the teens who was not part of the peace talks said he had been left out and accosted another teen. This caused tensions to flare.

The crowd then followed the perpetrator, who ran away and started throwing stones.

One of the speakers told Tafelsig East sector commander Captain Rajap Buggs, that the teen was an outsider from there group but would throw stones when they did.

No arrests were made.

Parents and residents, who attended the meeting, called for peace and said the youth were disrupting their lives.

They called on parents to take responsibility for their children.

Norman Adonis, chairperson of Mitchell’s Plain community police forum (CPF) Hyde Park sub-forum, who called the meeting, said he would hold parents accountable for their children’s actions.

“I will have a zero tolerance against all of you.

“I grew up here and I will not be held hostage by your children,” he said.

He said parents should speak to their children and to people who could help them get into school.

Mr Adonis said the problem stemmed from the youth looking for a sense of belonging.

“They are not in school and they find solace by joining gangs,” he said.

Community worker Joanie Fredericks there should be alternatives for the youth and that as a community they could help each other.

Abie Isaacs, chairperson of Mitchell’s Plain CPF, said they would have a follow-up meeting to increase visibility.

He said during previous incidents of stone-throwing the anti-gang unit was called in to diffuse the situation.

Mr Isaacs said gang warfare would start with stone throwing and then progress to shooting.

During the meeting, residents reported that there were guns being stored at certain houses and that they wanted the police to be more visible.

Community workers will be meeting to discuss youth specific programmes and a follow up meeting will be held at the corner of Langeberg and Oliefantshoek Street on Monday January 28, at 7pm.