Gang violence flares up in Bonteheuwel

The situation in Bonteheuwel remains tense after gang violence flared up in the area once again.

The latest shooting, on Monday morning (March 2), left a 40-year-old man dead and a 14-year-old boy wounded.

Bishop Lavis SAPS spokesperson, Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi, said the man was sitting near Yellowwood Street, when a bakkie with men seated at the back of it, approached him and random shots were fired.

“The deceased scrambled for cover behind a delivery vehicle that was parked on the pavement, but was fatally wounded due to multiple gunshot wounds sustained to the body. It cannot be confirmed that the deceased was an active member of a local gang. The shooters then blindly fired shots in the road and a 14-year-old boy also sustained gunshot wounds to his body. The boy was transported to a nearby hospital for medical attention,” Warrant Officer Swartbooi said.

Although he could not confirm if the man is a member of a gang, Warrant Officer Swartbooi confirmed that the attack was gang-related.

“The area is volatile at present due to the ongoing gang violence.

There are no witnesses available, and the suspects are unknown. SAPS members and specialists are currently standing off at the scene, on the corner of Yellowood Street and Bonteheuwel Avenue, combing the area for valuable leads to assist with their investigation into the murder and attempted murder,” he added.

According to Ward 50 councillor, Angus McKenzie, the current gang war is between two rival gangs in the S-block and T-block. The blocks are named as such, because all the street names in those areas start with either an S or a T.

On Friday February 28, the community had a stand-off with SAPS and law enforcement, who responded to gang violence in the area. It is alleged that some residents threw bricks at the officers.

The South African National Defense Force (SANDF) has also since been called in to assist with containing the situation. Video clips of the community’s stand-off have been widely circulated on social media, but Warrant Officer Swartbooi said he could not confirm this, as the matter had not been registered at the police station.

Mr McKenzie expressed his dismay about this situation.

“I am hugely disappointed that the very people who complain about gang violence and bad policing etcetera, are the very same individuals who are now standing alongside gangsters,” he said.

It is believed the latest shootings are in retaliation, after a woman who was pregnant with twins, Petula Williams, 30, was shot and killed on Wednesday February 26. It is alleged that Ms Williams was married to a gang leader.

Bishop Lavis community police forum (CPF) chairperson, Graham Lindhorst, said the S-and-T blocks were hot spots at the moment, because of the the killing of Ms Williams, but he said the gang violence was not confined to that area only.

Warrant Officer Swartbooi agrees with Mr Lindhorst, saying when the shooters flee, they end up in other parts of Bonteheuwel, where the violence continues.

“There have been shootings in other parts of Bonteheuwel over the past month as well,” he said, adding that social programmes are desperately needed for the area to curb gangsterism.

“Police visibility is a must, but we cannot always contain violence by using violence. In order to help eradicate gangsterism, we need all government departments to come on board to offer the relevant social programmes for the community,” Mr Lindhorst said.

A 42-year-old man was arrested for the killing of Ms Williams.

In response to the arrest, Mr McKenzie said: “I want to thank the people of Bonteheuwel for passing on credible information, as well as SAPS and Law Enforcement, for leaving no stone unturned in performing this arrest. I will petition the courts that no bail is granted to this individual and encourage SAPS to meticulously and thoroughly prepare this docket so that this monster no longer terrorises our community.”

Anyone with information about gang violence can contact Crime Stop anonymously at 08600 10111.