By Aneeqa Du Plessis
Chaos erupted on the streets of Bo-Kaap on Monday night as the Kensington All-stars minstrel troup finished their parade for hundreds of eager on-lookers in the annual ‘Voormaakie’ event. Locals filled the streets of Bo-Kaap in anticipation of what they could expect during the annual Tweede Nuwe Jaar celebrations, but instead what had indeed unfolded was complete mayhem.
It is believed that a brawl broke out between troop members just outside of the Biesmiellah restaurant in Wale Street. The cause of the scuffle is unknown but there are various rumours doing the rounds on what sparked the fight, some going as far as saying it was to avenge former Hard Livings gang boss Rashied Staggie who was murdered last week Friday in what is assumed to be a gang-hit. During last night’s fracas, shots were supposedly fired in quick succession causing the crowd to disperse hastily, although many observers claim this is far from the truth.
Several members of the public were trampled when a myriad of people came flooding down the streets of Bo-Kaap as people became aware of the shots. Belongings were lost, and children misplaced as mothers ran for cover and fathers sought protection behind cars.
But bystanders at the scene are convinced the bangs they heard were gunshots, not the playing of drums, as they live on the Cape Flats and have been exposed to the sounds of gun-blast before. A traumatized woman who got trampled during the incident is adamant that the clamour she heard was that of gunshots.
“I was walking up the road and saw all these people from a distance. That’s when I heard the gunshot. I heard one gunshot, I still stood because I didn’t know what was happening. Then a lot of people came, and they pushed me and my daughter and we got up and we started to run because then there was another shot that went off and everyone was running.”
Speaking to VOC, chairperson of the Bo Kaap Civic and Ratepayers Association Osman Shabodien has denied all claims that gunshots rang out.
“I want to make it quite clear all our investigations said they were no shootings in Bo-Kaap,” he said.
A member of the Bo-Kaap Collective and member of the working group collaborating with BOCKRA, who wished to remain anonymous said he can dispute all claims that there was any gunfire.
“I can confirm 100% there was no shooting. There was a scuffle that broke out between some guys that attended the klopse parade in Bo-Kaap.”
He continued by saying the only incident worth note was that of a stabbing that took place.
“A resident got stabbed and that led to people fleeing in all directions and creating a panic. He is however in a stable condition now and recovering. This was not gang-related nor klopse related per se….just an unfortunate incident.”
It’s believed Nadeem Swartz, 29, had been stabbed last night whilst trying to stop his friend from being mugged. Swartz told VOC News he was unaware of any shooting.
“I was in the hospital and the people that came to come check on me told me that they were shooting in Bo-Kaap. So I don’t know I was gone already.”
Swartz was stabbed twice in the lung, and once under the arm. Swartz is unaware of the identity of the men who are believed to have stabbed him. A case has not yet been opened.
The City of Cape Town and Law Enforcement officials has also denied that a shoot-out ever transpired.
Subsequently, Shabodien has made it very clear that anyone that has the intention of parading in Bo-Kaap needs to be in possession of a permit
“We are busy making plans to inform everybody that if they don’t have a permit they cannot march in Bo-Kaap.”
He blamed the City for not having adequate safety measures in place.
“We have to blame the authorities for not controlling the situation because definitely many more people came to Bo-Kaap than what was expected originally. There was no police visibility or metro-police visibility. I don’t think the communities were too happy about what had happened.”
The City of Cape Town will respond on air on Wednesday morning.