Four members of Cape Town’s Junky Funky Kids (JFK) gang received life sentences for the murder of rival gang member Simon Johnson in Heideveld last year, in a decision handed down by the Western Cape High Court on Thursday.
Acting Judge Dennis Davis found Kylim Bartlett, Rushdien Meyer, Garin Paulse and Amien Jaffer guilty of murder, attempted murder and various gang-related offences in terms of the Prevention of Organised Crime Act, in a judgment handed down in November.
Their victim, Johnson, was a member of rival gang the Terrible Westsiders.
Davis found that Johnson was shot in the leg and head on October 30, 2016 in a “military style pincer movement” at the Heideveld railway station that was sparked by a spat in a children’s park.
In summing up before sentencing on Thursday, Davis said the shooting was preceded by the Junky Funky Kids making threatening hand gestures to the Terrible Westsiders in the park.
“These gangs, which operate in the Heideveld area, are sworn enemies, locked in a perpetual vendetta,” Davis said.
“Insults were traded and Bartlett made threatening hand gestures to the Westsiders, intimating they were going to be taught a lesson,” he said.
Bartlett was then joined by Meyer and Paulse and they also made similar gestures to the Westsiders intimating they were going to be attacked.
Ordered to ‘claim the head’
One of the Westsiders walked past them and told Paulse his life would soon be over.
Davis said Paulse was a lieutenant in the gang and in a “fit of macho pique” told Bartlett and Meyer to go and “claim the head” of any member of the Terrible Westsiders gang.
Jaffer, an inspector in the gang, approved the instruction, and gave Bartlett a 9mm calibre star semi-automatic pistol to use.
While Bartlett and Meyer went to carry out the order, Paulse and Jaffer stood outside the Manenberg police station to create an alibi.
The Westsiders were sitting on the steps at the Heideveld railway station when they pounced.
Johnson was shot in the leg and head.
“The attack was carried out with no regard for the safety of the commuters at the station,” said Davis, adding that it was simply good fortune that no innocent bystanders were hurt.
He found that Bartlett tried to get rid of the firearm by dropping it in the lap of a man sitting in his yard, but this man wasn’t having it, and chased after him and told him to take his gun back.
During the trial it was established that the murder was planned or premeditated and was committed by people or a syndicate acting in the execution or furtherance of a common purpose or conspiracy, said Davis.
Devastating effect of gang activities
Therefore they had to receive the life sentence unless there were compelling circumstances, he added.
Being a gang member was also an aggravating factor in terms of POCA.
Police Captain Ian Bennett had testified during sentencing proceedings on the devastating effect of gang activities in the Manenberg precinct, which includes Heideveld.
Davis was told of eight-year-olds running guns, drugs hidden on babies, and 14-year-olds being convicted of murder.
Davis noted some of the personal circumstances of the four.
Bartlett sustained a head injury in a car accident and cannot read or write. He joined a gang to feel that he belonged to something, and to be part of a community.
Meyer grew up in Heideveld and his brother was shot and killed there in 2013. Paulse is unmarried and has seven children from five different mothers.
Outside the court on Thursday, Bartlett’s family wailed and sobbed, saying they were angry over his sentence.
“He did not shoot anyone,” said his mother Natasha, who indicated that an application for appeal might be lodged for her son.
She was also concerned that he might stop receiving the money he had been getting after his accident because the whole family was surviving on it.[Source: News24]