Gang violence on the Cape Flats continues to cripple communities with three people killed in Hanover Park recently.
Police have arrested three Hanover Park alleged gang members suspected of killing two men and a woman.
The three deceased were shot and killed while sitting in a car in Hanall Walk on Friday April 12, after 3am. Neighbours heard the gunshots and when they went outside, police were already on the scene.
Vice-chairperson of the Hanover Park Safety Forum, Shireen Hendricks, said the group was ending off their patrol for the evening when they heard the gun shots.
“It was a very traumatic scene. The woman had four children and her baby is only 2 years old. Her mother is still crying over her death. The community is shocked by this because we have never experienced something like this in our road,” she said.
Philippi police station’s spokesman, Captain Lance Goliath, said three men were arrested the next day and appeared in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday April 15. The case was postponed to yesterday, Tuesday April 23, for a bail hearing.
Ms Hendricks said later that evening, on the same night of the Hanall Walk shooting, a boy was about to cycle to his mother’s house from Princess Court in Hanover Park at about 10pm, after playing a game of soccer, when he was approached by an alleged gang member.
The man pointed a gun at him, demanded his bike and shot him in his foot.
The boy was taken to Heideveld Day Hospital and released the same night with a flesh wound.
Captain Goliath said the boy was shot at numerous times.
A 22-year-old man was arrested an hour after the incident through a tip-off from the community. The suspect appeared in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Monday April 15 and the case was postponed.
Ms Hendricks said the community is fed up with innocent people getting hurt and being killed. She said gang violence has crippled the area since November last year as rival gangs fought over drug turf – this she said is robbing people of their freedom as they have to stay in doors out of fear of being shot (“Bloody gang battles”, Athlone News, January 10).
Gang shootings in Bonteheuwel on Friday and Saturday April 12 and 13 also left two people injured. The shootings occurred between Kiaat Avenue and Swartysterhout Street, with one man shot in his buttocks and another in his face. Both men were taken to Vanguard Day Hospital for treatment and no arrests were made, said ward councillor Angus Mckenzie.
Abie Clayton, chairperson of the Community of Bonteheuwel Association, said residents are living in danger and while gangs are fighting each other innocent people are getting hurt. He said that recently more police presence had been visible in the area but the shooting had not stopped.
“When they (police) come everything is quiet and when they leave it happens again. The community is scared but it’s our own children who are committing these crimes so we need to stand together as a community to overcome this.
“Our children are being exposed to drugs even at school, bullying and intimidation to join gangs is happening at school level where parents think they are safe. They are terrorising our children and our communities. We don’t care if they kill each other but they’re harming innocent people,” he said.
Mr Clayton said gangs prey on vulnerable residents or single moms who are addicted to drugs, and eventually they take over their homes.
“They renovate these people’s homes to show that they do some good in the community and at the end of the day it becomes a drug den. People don’t see it that way but that is what is happening. I have told people to draw up petitions if such things happen in their roads but they are scared for their lives,” he said.
Mr Clayton said what the area urgently needs is more than just a surface police presence – it also needs unity among the community. “Most of the residents have given up already. The moms and dads of these gangsters need to come together to help their children, sometimes they do but only to see who is speaking about their children and tomorrow they become a target.
“During the day when people are working the gangsters terrorise their children. The vans drive up and down but what are they actually doing?” he said.