The recent murder of Gatesville shop owner, 27 year old Aqib Khan, has left residents concerned for their safety, since the incident highlighted the growing levels of crime within the area. Khan, who is a Pakistani citizen, was fatally shot when three men entered his cell phone shop at 15.30pm last Tuesday. In a video, which has subsequently gone viral, the three suspects are seen entering the shop, shooting Khan and fleeing the scene, without demanding money or merchandise. Police spokesperson, Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed that the suspects are still at large.
Speaking to VOC, member of the Gatesville Neighbourhood Watch and chairperson of the CPF Subforum in Athlone, Fowzia Veerasamy explained that while residents now live in fear, shoppers who frequent the bustling business area, particularly during the month of Ramadan, have also been affected.
“People are now saying that they are aware of the crime in Gatesville, but these certain incidents give Gatesville a bad name – its outsiders who come into Gatesville where they continue their criminal activity.”
In light of the numerous reports of theft within the area, Veerasamy says that the neighbourhood watch, which patrols Klipfontein to College and Hazel Road to Heinz Road, currently consists of only female members and is in need of more manpower from residents.
She further noted that despite previous unresponsiveness of police officials to criminal activity within Gatesville, the recent murder of Khan has gained much attention from law enforcement.
“When residents phone the police, we wait for four to five hours or police don’t pitch up at all. But with the recent killing of the show owner there has been a massive visibility of police in our area,” Veerasamy continued.
The neighbourhood watch, which was launched seven months ago, is urging all residents over the age of 18 years to join the neighbourhood watch and assist in safeguarding their community.
“If they see that you are a few they will try to implement attacks against you. But if they see that you are large numbers, standing up for what you believe is right, and then will we eradicate all this criminal activity.”
As the Cape Town community observes the final days of Ramadan, Veerasamy encourages all attendees to the popular Gatesville mosque, Masjidul Quds, to remove their wiper blades after parking, as many incidents of theft has been reported.
She adds that attendees to the masjid should adhere to parking regulations as many reports of individuals receiving parking tickets during busy times have been reported.
“When it is Taraaweeh and Jumuah time, then the full force of law enforcement comes out and hands out tickets, which I think is unlawful because come to do their prayers – but during normal times there is no law enforcement,” Veerasamy added.