Violence dominates news in 2017

As the Athlone News looks back at stories covered this year, gang violence, sadly, dominated the headlines.

The year started with a report on gang violence in Bonteheuwel and how that affected the community there (“Festive season of fear,” January 4)

Manenberg residents said they felt insulted by President Jacob Zuma’s move to deploy the army to the opening of Parliament, when it could not be used to bring calm to gang-ridden areas (“Share the forces,” February 15).

After months of calls from res-idents of the greater Athlone area for the army to be deployed, more than 2 000 people from all over the Cape Flats packed the hall at Mount View High School, in Hanover Park, to share with Deputy Police Minister Bongani Mkongi the frustration and pain they endure living in a gang-infested area (“You are helping gangsters killing us,” September 13).

Even Premier Helen Zille and Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, joined the call to have the army deployed to the Cape Flats.

Despite repeated calls for the army, these appeals have fallen on deaf ears. President Zuma is the only one who can give the go-ahead for this to happen.

When the crime statistics were revealed in October, it was no surprise that most of the murder cases reported at the five police stations in the Athlone News distribution area were gang-related (“Crime in numbers”, November 1)

This year also saw the loss of two prominent anti-apartheid legal stalwarts – retired Western Cape High Court Judge, Essa Moosa, 81, died at his home in Rondebosch East, following a short illness, and Peter Williams, a human rights lawyer and anti-apartheid activist, originally from Kewtown, died after a battle with cancer, aged 49.

On a more positive note, Peak View High School, in Bridgetown, celebrated its first 100% matric pass rate (“First 100% pass rate in 40 years,” January 11).

Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, the founder of humanitarian and disaster relief organisation, Gift of the Givers, proved faith can indeed move mountains – as that is all he had when he started the organisation – deep seated faith. Fast forward 25 years, and the organisation has delivered R2.1 billion in aid to 43 countries, benefiting millions of people, and in the process, picking up 113 local and international awards (“The givers have a gift of faith,” May 24)

Other good-hearted givers are the pupils from Star College Bridgetown, who belong to an outreach group called Star Givers, which spreads festive cheer by holding a fund-raiser to buy non-perishable food for needy people with disabilities (“Buckets of Hope”, December 13).