‘Intimidation will not be tolerated’

Roegschanda Pascoe

A civic leader, who is a witness in a gang-related murder trial, and her family have fled Manenberg after gunmen shot up their home.

Roegchanda Pascoe, chairperson of the Manenberg Community Safety Forum, left home on Wednesday night March 6 ahead of giving testimony in the Western Cape High Court the next day.

But her three children and their families were in the Pecos Road house when gunmen attacked after midnight.

According to Manenberg police spokesman Captain Ian Bennett, officers found nine 9mm cartridges on the scene.

“This seemingly random shooting incident is not at all random; it has been linked to the cowardly acts of gangsterism,” he said.

“This incident of violence has been targeted against a family as a form of intimidation to prevent the community standing up for what is right within Manenberg,” he said.

According to Ms Pascoe, the two gunmen shot at her house then jumped over the gate into her yard to shoot at the back of the house where her bedroom is.

Her 24-year-old son, she said, had suffered a flesh wound when one of the bullets had grazed his knee.

Ms Pascoe said: “My son called 10111, and no one answered. The next day, after 5am, the detective only called me to find out what happened. We are all out of Manenberg now because we are afraid for our lives. My children are traumatised.”

Meanwhile, the case was postponed to Monday March 11 due to the attack.

Police have described Ms Pascoe as a key witness in the trial of the alleged leader of the Clever Kids gang, Mogamad Faeez Hendricks, who is accused of killing 26-year-old Angelo Davids, believed to have been a member of the rival Hard Livings gang.

In that same month, Mr Hendricks and five other men suspected of being senior members of the gang were arrested on charges of murder. They have been held without bail at Pollsmoor since then.

Ms Pascoe said she had learnt two weeks’ ago that a hit had been put on her life.

She remains steadfast but feels the authorities are not doing enough to protect her and her family.

“I will still testify. The state is failing us, they could not even protect my children, knowing that I am key witness in the trial. They left my children alone there to fend for themselves but luckily my neighbours took care of them by cooking for them and comforting them.

“My children must leave the comfort of their home because of gang violence, but the gangs remain in the area, and their families are the ones who get to attend their court cases,” she said.

Ms Pascoe said the assault on her home had damaged the ceiling, walls doors and a TV.

Captain Bennett said no form of intimidation would stop the case.

“The anti gang unit has even now built a more solid case with the hope of acquiring the maximum sentence in the Western Cape High Court. We will not tolerate any form of intimidation.

“We have saturated the area with additional police and will not be pushed around by gangs. We will take any criminal gang down and uproot any trace of gang activity. Manenberg police vow to take down criminal gangs and change the perception of the community,” said Captain Bennett.

Ms Pascoe said she had turned down an offer from the police to place her and her family in witness protection as it would have meant leaving the Western Cape and cutting all ties with family and friends.

She said she now understood why witnesses retracted their statements.

“The police does not protect us, yet they know we are crucial to the case. I don’t understand why. Now I understand why people don’t testify because they will get killed,” she said.

Anyone with information regarding this shooting incident can contact Manenberg SAPS on 021 699 9400 or crime stop on 08600 10111.