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Civic associations to march against gangs

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The Cape Flats has been hit hard by a spate of gang shootings over the past two weeks, which has directly resulted in the deaths of 17 people in just 15 days. This is part of a shocking number of gang related deaths in the area this year, with residents living in constant fear of becoming the next victim to this alarming trend.

To combat the gang problem, several civic associations across the Cape Flats are seeking to join forces in a march towards parliament in 2015, to demand more effort from government in addressing the issue. The march is being led by the Hanover Park Civic Association, and includes civic organizations in Lavender Hill, Mitchell’s Plain and Manenberg.

Deputy Chairperson of the Hanover Park Civic Association, Ighsaan Nazier, said the march was a sign that the community has had enough of the escalating levels of violence, and are determined to stand up and speak out.

“We can no longer build coffins and attend funerals. Even some of our members have been killed. About a month ago we had two of our members shot in front of their homes whilst sitting in a car,” he stated.

The association has been particularly critical of the so called “empty promises” made by Western Cape Community Safety MEC, Dan Plato, who has continuously vowed to address the situation. Fed up with the local policing authority’s inaction, he said the association and its members were now directing letters towards President Jacob Zuma instead.

“We are tired of this. We need national government to get involved on the Cape Flats because our people are being killed and massacred,” he said.

Amongst their demands are that a ‘state of emergency’ is declared within the Cape Flats, which would allow national government to deploy army personnel in the area. Apart from that, they are also demanding the implementation of visible policing, and prevention and intervention programmes, which they are hoping will keep the area’s youth away from gang activity.

Nazier stressed that the community’s action need not be confused with vigilantism. He said the respective associations that would be participating in the march were simply “concerned parents” seeking to work with police on the matter, despite the police’s inaction.

“For 20 years the police have been asking us to give information on who are the gang leaders and who are the people doing the killings. We give them the information, but they never go to the people that are actually doing all these things,” he said.

Whilst still in the planning stages, the march will likely take place in late February or early March. Nazier noted they were planning to obtain a legal marching permit from the City of Cape Town, to march through the CBD towards parliament. The intention would also be to book City hall, which will be used prior to the march.

For more information, contact Nazier directly at 084 550 6201. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)

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