Gangs using ‘weapons of war’

A 30-year-old man was stoned to death in Manenberg on Sunday October 15.

National Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula has added his voice to calls for the support of the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in crime-ridden communities.

Mr Mbalula said a number of serious crimes recently involved the use of weapons of war.

Innocent by-standers and children have fallen victim to these gang-related violent crimes, which included murder and attempted murder, robbery, common assault and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, truck and car theft and hijacking, rape, trespassing, child abuse and neglect, abuse of controlled chemicals, and drug-related crimes.

“Our children have a right to grow in a peaceful environment, and as police, we have a duty to protect that right,” said Mr Mbalula.

He said Gauteng and the Western Cape, specifically Cape Town, were identified as hots pots and are affected were worst.

“We will never fail our people. We will squeeze the space for criminals, and we will liberate our people from prisons of fear,” Mr Mbalula said.

Last week Premier Helen Zille announced that she would again table a proposal for the army to intervene in the fight against gang-related activity, at the next sitting of the Western Cape cabinet. (“Renewed calls for the army”, Athlone News October 11).

In the past week, seven people have been killed and three people have been injured in separate shootings on the Cape Flats.

A 30-year-old man was stoned to death in Manenberg on Sunday October 15. Manenberg police station spokesperson Captain Ian Bennett said the man belonged to a gang.

He had been walking down Thames Avenue, apparently in rival gang territory, and was stopped and stoned to death with concrete blocks. He succumbed to his injuries and died on the scene. The perpetrators fled the area and no arrests have been made. Also in Manenberg on Sunday, a 20-year-old man was shot and killed on the corner of Renoster and Plate roads.

According Captain Bennett, the man was found by residents with a bullet wound to his head. No arrests has been made.

On Saturday October 14, a 47-year-old man was shot and injured while standing at the gate of a house in Letaba Road, Manenberg. According to Captain Bennett, the man was injured in his chest and arm and taken to the Heideveld Emergency Centre for medical treatment. A case of attempted murder has been opened for investigation. The shooters fled the scene and there have been no arrests.

A 32-year-old man was arrested on the same day for the killing of a 52-year-old woman who was shot and killed on Friday September 13.

According to Captain Bennett, the woman was shot and killed in crossfire between gangs in Letaba Road.

The woman was shot twice in the chest and once in her back and died on the scene. The man was due to appear in Athlone Magistrate’s Court yesterday, Tuesday October 17.

Athlone police are searching for four men who shot and killed three men and injured two men in Kewtown on Thursday October 12.

According to Athlone police spokeswoman Sergeant Zita Norman, four unknown men walked around the block of flats in Springbok Street, firing shots randomly. They then fired several shots at five men who were sitting behind the flats which resulted in three men aged, 34, 60 and 50, being killed and two men, aged 34 and 29, being injured.

The men fled the scene in a Silver Golf with no registration number. Cases of murder and attempted murder have been opened for investigation. The incident is gang-related, police said.

On the same day, a 30-year-old woman was fatally shot in the stomach while standing on the corner of Elsiekraal and Gonubie Road, Manenberg.

According to Captain Bennett, she was rushed to hospital where she succumbed to her injuries. A case of murder has been opened for investigation. No arrests have been made.

Also on the day, Athlone police arrested a 29-year-old man on a charge of murder.

Police responded to a complaint in front of Athlone Meat market in old Klipfontein in the Athlone CBD, where they found a 33-year-old man who had been stabbed to death. According Sergeant Norman, the 29-year-old is an alleged gang member. He was due to appear at the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday October 16.

Manenberg police arrested two men on Thursday October 12 during a crime prevention operation in Manenberg. According to Captain Bennett, members of the emergency response unit’s flying squad had been deployed in the area when they received information from the community about suspicious men in Matilda Court. They followed up on the information which lead them to a backyard where a 45mm pistol was found.

Also on Thursday, police patrolling in Tugela Road received information from the community about an 18-year-old in possession of an illegal firearm. According to Captain Bennett, police questioned him and found a 7.65mm pistol with no ammunition hidden in his clothes drawer. He was arrested and was due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday October 16.

That same day, a 24-year-old man was arrested as he was seen firing random shots in Sabie Road. Police responded to the gun shots and when they arrived on the scene, the man started to run.

Captain Bennett said when police cornered the suspect, they did not find a firearm on him as he had thrown it away. He was arrested him was due to appear in the Athlone Magistrates Court on Monday October 16.

Acting on another tip-off, police arrested a 23-year-old man for being in possession of a 9mm pistol, magazine and live ammunition at his home in Lansport Road, Hanover Park. Philippi police station’s spokesman Captain Goliath said the gun’s serial numbers had been filed off. The man was due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday October 16.

Philippi police arrested a man on Monday October 9 in connection with the shooting of police officers in Hanover Park on Saturday October 7. (“ ‘Don’t attack police when we try to help’ ”), Athlone News, September 27). Police arrested the 28-year-old suspect in Vulcan Gardens, Woodlands. He was due to appear in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday October 16.