Residents show support for Abrahams family

Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum chairperson, Judith Kennedy, addressed the crowd who gathered for a vigil outside the Abrahams family home in Jasmine Street.

The Bonteheuwel community gathered outside the Abrahams family home on Thursday August 4, in a show of unity against gang violence and to pray for their recovery.

The Abrahams family – mother Shireen, father Mahdi, and sons Ebrahim, 22, Moeneer, 19, and Masood, 14 – were on their way home on Wednesday August 3, when a gunman shot at their vehicle, leaving Ms Abrahams and Masood in a critical condition in hospital.

Police believe the hit on the family was a case of mistaken identity.

The family is well-known and loved by the community. Mr Abrahams is an imam at the Bonteheuwel mosque.

Bishop Lavis SAPS spokesperson, Captain Marie Louw, said the driver of the family’s car made way for another car to pass them, when a passenger in the other vehicle (a black VW Polo) got out and started shooting at their car, on the corner of Juniper and Jasmine streets, at 10.20pm.

“The mother (Shireen) was hit by a bullet in the mouth, neck and side of her body. Masood was shot on the left side of his face and right side of his shoulder and his left knee. Ebrahim was shot in his stomach, Moeneer was shot through his left side finger and the father (Mahdi) sustained a bullet wound to his left arm,” Captain Louw said.

The black Polo was later found in Rooihout Street, Bonteheuwel. The car was stolen in Delft last month.

At a vigil arranged by the Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum (JPF) and religious institutions in the area, on Thursday August 4, many neighbours could not contain their emotions.

Addressing the crowd, Moulana Fagmie Salie said Ms Abrahams is a hard-working woman.

“She is the pillar of her family, and we all know that when something bad happens to a mother, it affects us all. It is beautiful to see how many came out tonight. May the Almighty keep us united. We are a community standing together for justice. We have already shown what unity can bring us in the 1980s, when we fought against an unjust system. With this kind of unity, we can clean Bonteheuwel from gangsterism with love and peace,” Mr Salie said.

Yusuf Cassiem, JPF member, told the crowd that they must come out in their thousands to support this cause, “just like we came out in the thousands yesterday to vote”. He also urged people to report any information they have to the police.

Judith Kennedy, chairperson of the JPF, thanked everybody for their attendance.

“I cannot fathom how this could happen to a family. We are in Women’s Month, and it is usually the women who drive causes here in Bonteheuwel, and it is sad that a mother had to go through this during this time.

“I am very happy to see all the men here tonight. For the gang violence to stop, we have to take a stand. And peace is possible, it just depends on all of us,” Ms Kennedy said.

Mr Abrahams’ brother, Abdul Azies Abrahams, also thanked the community for their support and prayers.

When he described the kind of damages the bullets left on his brother’s family, many in the crowd could be heard crying.

Mr Abrahams added: “I too, cannot believe that this has happened to them. It seems like they were at the wrong place at the wrong time. For too long our community has suffered because of gang violence, we have to take our community back. Let us mobilise against this scourge that’s tearing our community apart.”

Bishop Lavis Community Pol-ice Forum chairperson, Graham Lindhorst, said: “This is a very religious family. They are innocent. It was a case of mistaken identity.

“The community is fed up with the shooting in the area and are in shock.

“They are not happy at all and this incident just added fuel to the fire.”