From the news desk

Gang violence claims 19 lives in one month

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As the holiday season draws to a close, the residents of Manenberg are plagued by continued gang violence, which erupted on 30 March 2016. The current situation has resulted in the death of more than 19 individuals, including the wounding of a pupil who attends a local high school.

Member of the Manenberg Community Safety Forum, Rugchanda Pascoe, explained that the violence continues to escalate, in the wake of the shooting of an individual from Tiber Street.

Police commissioner, General Mangwashi Victoria Phiyega, is reported to have called all police officers to report to their posts. Pascoe asserted that the recalling of police officers may result in protracted violence.

“How can the commissioner do that? We do not see the strategy of the police working – we only see people dying,” Pascoe urged.

She affirmed that on Friday evening the South African Police Service (SAPS) conducted an operation in which they attempted to manage the situation by removing children from the streets. She further noted that on Sunday she witnessed two police vans patrolling the area, which she considers to be inadequate assistance.

“I understand the fear of police. They too have families to consider,” Pascoe explained.

The Government, Pascoe noted, has provided little recourse in dealing with the crises of gang violence.

She, therefore, urged Government to improve the living conditions of Cape Flats residents by “not allowing politics to control their decisions,” since community members are constantly subjected to a life of fear.

“This is the fourth year that we have tried to get Government to work within the community – all we get is a ‘cold shoulder’,” Pascoe noted.

She explained that the election, which is scheduled to take place in August, does not appear to provide “much hope” for Cape Flats residents.

“Our people have been experiencing a horror in Manenberg as no area in Manenberg is spared – human lives are at stake.”

The community of Manenberg, Pascoe explained, is currently organizing an imbizo, which is directed toward encouraging community members within the Cape Flats to assert their concerns as community activists.

The Manenberg Community Safety Forum calls upon all community members to join the White Flag Picket, which is scheduled to take place on Monday evening, 11 April 2016, in each area of the Cape Flats.

[Pascoe noted that as the interview was conducted, shooting continued in the absence of police.]


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