Nine-year-old Moegamat Waleed Samuels from Hanover Park is the latest victim of the ongoing gang war in the area. A teen has been arrested for the shooting.
On Human Rights Day, Monday March 21, Waleed was playing soccer with his friends on a field in Hanover Park when he was caught in the crossfire between rival gangs, the Ghettos and the Mongrels.
According to Lieutenant Lance Goliath, spokesman for Philippi police, the incident occurred at about 3.30pm.
“Waleed was shot in his back (and) taken to Red Cross Children’s Hospital where he was stabilised,” he said.
A 16-year-old from Hanover Park has been arrested on a charge of attempted murder and appeared in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Thursday March 24. The case has been remanded and the suspect remains in custody. The investigation continues,” Lieutenant Goliath said.
Angelique Jordaan, communications officer for Red Cross Hospital confirmed that Waleed was admitted to the hospital with a gunshot wound to his back and was discharged the next day
Ebrahim Abrahams, chairperson of the Hanover Park Community Police Forum, said the community is disturbed by the incident.
“But I am also disturbed with the community that is not standing together. It is better if we unite now before things get (much) worse,” Mr Abrahams said.
According to Mr Abrahams, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato had been in Hanover Park on Tuesday to do a walkabout and also visited Moegamat Waleed’s family.
Mr Abrahams said there needs to be more interaction between the community and the police about plans to combat crime in the area. “The police must interact with the community so that they know what their plans are but they are always understaffed so it is difficult. The community is also so divided. They don’t come forward with (information about) their children who have guns in the house or illegal substances.”
Lieutenant Ian Bennet, communications officer for Manenberg police station, said while residents know the dangers being outside posed when rival gangs start shooting at each other, gang violence has become such a norm in the community that residents are so curious to see what is happening they stand in front of their houses or in the road, placing themselves in harm’s way.
“It has become such a norm in the community the residents place themselves in harm’s way to see what is happening instead of taking cover in their homes. They know that when they suspect gang violence they must keep their children off the streets and go into the most central part of their home which is usually their bathrooms. They must report any suspected gang violence to the police immediately and stay indoors,” Lieutenant Bennet said.
He added that if children are at school when gang violence erupts, parents need to leave their children at school because it’s safer for them to be there.
“If they are walking to the shop and shooting occurs, they must take cover at the nearest house and not continue walking to the shop or try to see what is happening because that is when they get hurt,” he said.
He also added that gang violence usually occurs during the early hours of the morning or late afternoon so residents need to stay off the streets during those hours.
In January this year the Athlone News reported that, 15-year-old Washfeeq Titus, of Hanover Park, was shot in a case of mistaken identity (“Gang violence flare up”, Athlone News, January 20). Washfeeq died after being shot in the head in Turfburg Walk. He was declared dead on the scene.
Hanif Loonat, chairman of the Mitchell’s Plain Cluster Community Police Forum (CPF) , under which Athlone, Lansdowne, Philippi, Mitchells Plain, Lentegeur, Strandfontein, Grassy Park and Steenberg police stations fall, said at the time the bullet had apparently been meant for one of the teen’s relatives believed to be a member of the Americans gang.
Later that day, another shooting occurred at Lomond Court, where 28-year-old Geraldo Lucas was killed as a result of infighting among members of the Mongrels gang, according to Mr Loonat.
In the same month, two men were shot and killed in separate incidents in Hanover Park and Penlyn.
Wayne Petersen, 27, was found in Johnvlei Walk with gunshot wounds to his ribs, left leg, and two shots in his buttocks. In a separate incident, Shannon Williams, 25, from Sileca Walk, Hanover Park, was found on an open field behind Cheshire Home with a gunshot wound to the back of his head.
In February a 46-year-old man was shot and killed in Ruth Court, Manenberg. The man’s body was found with a bullet wound to the chest.
Later in February, the Manenberg community held a peace march after two women, both mothers, were shot and killed due to gang violence.
Shameeha Adams, 35, was shot and killed when she was caught in gang crossfire in Scheldt Walk. A week later Sharon Saban, 50, was shot and killed as well. In a separate incident, two men, aged 33 and 35, were shot and seriously injured in Renoster Walk.
Earlier this month, a 31-year-old man was shot and killed in Hanover Park Avenue on Friday March 18, at about 10.50pm. Lieutenant Goliath said the man had a single gunshot wound to his neck.
Also in March, a 32-year-old man was shot and killed in Athry Walk, Hanover Park. The deceased sustained a single gunshot wound to his face. Medics certified him as dead on the scene. It has yet to be determined if the incident was gang related.
Lieutenant Goliath urged the community if they have any information about Waleed Samuels’ shooting to report it to Detective Warrant Officer JP Van Antwerten on 021 690 1517.