A 7-year-old Manenberg girl narrowly missed death after she caught a bullet to the head during crossfire as rival gangs opened fire on each other over the weekend.
Jalyn Ely was playing in front of the gate of her house in Renoster Road in Manenberg on Freedom Day, Saturday April 27, after 9am, when an unknown number of men started shooting in the road. A stray bullet grazed the side of Jalyn’s head but it did not penetrate her skull.
Her mom Ashlin said she and her husband Jason were inside the house when they heard the shooting and moments later Jalyn ran inside screaming that she had been shot.
Her father rushed her to Heideveld Emergency Centre and she was then transferred to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where she is currently in a stable condition, according to the hospital’s spokesman, Dwayne Evans.
Ms Ely said she is glad her daughter is okay and does not want any revenge attacks because her family is not involved in gangsterism. “I am glad that my family is safe. She is okay and she is talking but she really wants to go home and she cries when the family go home. She is going to see the social worker and so are we. My husband is very upset and quite sad because his daughter is laying in hospital,” she said.
According to Manenberg police station’s spokesman, Captain Ian Bennett, rival gangs had been shooting in the area the day before the incident, possibly over drug turf but he could not confirm if the incident was gang related.
He said the area had been quiet since July last year but that there had been a sudden flare-up recently.
Asked what the role SAPS’ Anti-Gang Unit played in preventing these shootings, Captain Bennett said they could not prevent gang-related shootings but were assigned to investigate high profile gang-related cases and to dislodge gang operations.
“They were brought in to assist the police force and to create specific mechanisms to dislodge gangs. The community needs to stand up against gangsterism and more education and job opportunities need to be created for people so that they are not forced to join gangs to feed their families,” he said.
Manenberg Community Safety Forum chairperson, Roegchanda Pascoe, said government needs to step up to do stop gangs from killing innocent people. “I feel sorry for all the people of Manenberg who have to go through this every day. Our innocent children still have to grow up and they have to live in this crime. It is not fair and something needs to be done,” she said.
In a separate incident on Saturday April 27, four men were sitting outside drinking in 5th Avenue in Bokmakierie when a car pulled up and a group of men started shooting at them, killing one man and injuring the other three.
No arrests were made and anyone with information can contact Athlone SAPS on 021 697 9238 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.