Boy, 13, caught in crossfire

The boy was walking down Amandla Road in Tambo Village, when he was caught in gang crossfire.

A 13-year-old boy has been shot in his shoulder in Manenberg, and residents fear more shootings will follow as gang feuding over turf intensifies.

The boy was walking down Amandla Road in Tambo Village, on Monday August 9, at about about 6.30pm, when he was caught in gang crossfire.

According to Manenberg police spokesman Captain Ian Bennett, gang conflict over turf to sell drugs has been growing as lockdown restrictions have eased.

Police had responded with more patrols and greater visibility, he said.

“We are investigating all crimes, and we are urging the community to come forward with information about any illegal activity in the area. We need parents to stop covering up for their children who commit crimes.

“The community has more intel than we do. We want to stop gang activity before it happens, but we need the community to play their part.”

The community, he said, suffered from “Stockholm syndrome” – feelings of trust or affection captives sometimes feel for their captors – at the hands of the gang leaders.

“Parents are complaining about their children being shot but many of their children are gang members,” he said.

According to Manenberg Safety Forum chairwoman Roegchanda Pascoe, the Fancy Boys and Americans are fighting over drug turf in Tambo Village and now the Jesters gang have joined the fray, making the area increasingly volatile.

The police presence in the area was unchanged and they only reacted when someone was killed, she said. Residents were frustrated and felt hopeless.

“The result of all these fights is sporadic shootings and innocent people getting hurt. People are angry because police know who the gang leaders are and what they are doing. Our residents have become so fearful of gangs they are scared to report anything to the police because before they get home they are targeted already. People really don’t know where to turn to anymore,” she said.

Because Manenberg was plagued by poverty and other social ills, gang leaders could buy the community’s loyalty with food, electricity, and money, she said.

“He also sorts out all your problems for you so anyone that has an issue with you is dealt with by him,” she said.

A Manenberg resident who didn’t want to be named said the area was tense and gunshots could be heard daily. There were rumours, she said, of ammunition being brought into the area as gangs prepared for war. However, the police could not confirm this.

“Two to three shots are fired each night, so we know it as warning shots,” the woman said. “We really don’t know what has sparked this now, we don’t know what is going to happen next. Most people are keeping indoors just going to work and going back home. On every corner there are guys standing and talking, probably talking about their next move.”