Cape Flats residents embarked on a second march within the space of two weeks, taking to the streets on Tuesday to demand government action in addressing an escalating gang and crime situation in the area. The Cape Flats has been hard hit by gang wars, violent crime, and unbridled levels of substance abuse, and locals have urged government to take a more proactive stance in addressing these issues.
This comes after a similar march to parliament on the 19th May, where a memorandum was handed over. But with little having been done since, residents have sought to apply further pressure on government to address their concerns.
Spokesperson for the group, Ricardo Sedras was highly critical at the lack of feedback to their memorandum, and said they had resolved to return with more stronger and more specific demands.
“We want more active and stronger roles given to the neighbourhood watches. We felt that nothing has been done so far since we gave in the memorandum to them. They are saying they have R16 million (from the budget) for safety and security, but nothing is coming forth to protect the people,” he expressed, adding that much of those funds could be put to good use by strengthening funding to the various neighbourhood watches.
As recently as Tuesday morning the area of Hanover Park witnessed another shooting; further fuelling the claim that more need be done address high levels of gang activity. Sedras suggested the total loss of life stood at seven since the initial memorandum was handed over.
In addition to better funding, residents were also calling for more assistance from the army, as well as strengthening of police forces in the areas most in need.
“Our request was that crime becomes on the agenda of parliament, that the president is speaking in parliament, and that it should become a priority,” he stressed.
Should there still be government inaction, Sedras warned of further marches on the cards. He said they would likely direct their focus next to the office of Western Cape premier, Helen Zille; also a recipient of the memorandum.
“It is almost election time, and they are going to come out and want our vote. If we are not getting what we want we will call the whole cape flats to boycott the voting day,” he suggested. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)