Two children shot in a week during Manenberg gang war

Clayton Alfred,12, was shot in his back in Manenberg during gang crossfire.

Another child has been injured in the ongoing gang war in Manenberg, four days after an 8-year-old girl was shot.

Last Monday Clayton Alfred, 12, became the latest statistic of children who are injured through gang crossfire. Four days earlier Thanwah Benjamin was shot in her thigh also in Manenberg (“Living in a gang war zone”, Athlone News, September 20).

According to Manenberg police station’s spokesman, Captain Ian Bennett, it is alleged that the 12-year-old boy was outside in Peta Court, Manenberg, when gangs started shooting randomly, and he was hit in his back by a stray bullet.

The boy was rushed to Heideveld Emergency Centre for medical treatment and was transferred to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital where he is currently in a stable condition, according to the hosptial’s communications officer Dwayne Evans.

Police did not know who fired the shots, or why, but Manenberg Community Safety Forum chairperson, Roegshanda Pascoe said the shooting was between rival gangs, the Hard Livings and Americans.

Ms Pascoe said the young boy and his friends had run for cover when they heard gunshots.

He was then hit in the back.

She said the ongoing gang war had traumatised the community and left those injured, scarred for life.

“It stays with them forever. They will hear a gunshot and immediately tense up. It is a life-changing thing,” she said.

Manenberg Community Police Forum (CPF) chairperson, Kader Jacobs, said the family have declined to speak to the media.

He said the CPF has urged the community to work with security forces with in the area to eradicate gangsterism.

“They know where the guns are hidden but they refuse to tell us. This is avoidable if we all work together. I also understand the frustration of the community,” he said.

Mr Jacobs said there were many solutions to eradicating gangsterism which included educating children at primary school level about the dangers of joining gangs, providing employment for matriculants so that they are not recruited into gangs, eradicating corrupt police officials who are filtering confidential police information to the community, and safe-guarding residents who provide the police with information.

“I feel that the Prevention of Organised Crime Act also needs to be relooked at because it is too light on gangsters,” said Mr Jacobs.

Thanwah was playing outside in Joyce Court on Wednesday September 13 when she was caught in the crossfire between rival gangs, including the Dixie Boys, Americans, and Clever Kids, who shot at the Hard Livings.

The young girl was shot in the thigh and was rushed to Heideveld Emergency Centre where she received emergency medical treatment and was later transferred to Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.