By Abubaker Abrahams
Gang violence has escalated in Lavender Hill again this week, with reports of 11 shootings in one week. Speaking to VOC on Friday, Lavender Hill Community Police Forum (CPF) spokesperson Mark Rossouw said the situation remains tense at present. The latest gang violence has left the residents in distress.
“I can confirm since Monday 17 July that there have been 11 shootings, four were fatalities, among them, sadly, a 60 year old woman . Unfortunately, seven people were injured,” said Rossouw.
Residents in Lavender Hill have experienced multiple gang shootings throughout this year but it intensified this week.
The police have been highly criticized for not doing enough to stop the violence but Rossouw feels the community is partly to blame.
“There are community members that are culpable as well because these community members know who these gangsters are, as they are family members. They are culpable because they are hiding these gangsters from the police when the police do raids. What is even worse is that with the 11 shootings, there have been no arrests and the police can only be effective if the community works with them,” explained Rossouw.
Lavender Hill is one of the main gang hotspots on the Cape Flats, with periodic flare-ups of violence.
Children are exposed to gang violence from a very young age and there has been countless efforts made to better the situation for youth in the community. One of these efforts is holiday programmes and sadly the gang violence has interrupted school holiday programmes in the area.
“It has not involved the kids but has a big impact on kids. Children run and are traumatised…they can’t even play outside in the school holidays,” said Charles Daniels, the chairperson of the Lavender Hill Civic Association.
With the unemployment rate escalating in South Africa, efforts must be made to keep youth occupied and away from gangs. Daniels emphasized that pleas have been made to the City of Cape Town to provide creational services for youth and as violence spreads to neighbouring areas, the CPF and Steenberg Police have assured the community they will persevere to stop the violence but appeal for the community’s assistance. VOC