Only a handful of locals lined ‘Die Laan’ in Manenberg on Monday, mere after gunshots flew in the gang-ridden area’s busiest road.
Children wearing their school uniforms, pensioners and mothers stood hand in hand after heeding a call by community leaders to line Manenberg Avenue in solidarity against the bullets and bloodshed that has had residents on edge since February.
But while hundreds of people were expected to join the campaign, only about 50 residents pitched up.
“People are too afraid,” Iris Wyngaard told News24. “The shots were ringing out the entire weekend as the gangsters ran amok. You put your life at risk by just putting your foot out of the front door.”
Die Laan, usually bustling with activity, was virtually empty on Monday.
Eve Sassman and her daughter Lisa, 8, joined the group on Monday after the little girl spent most of the weekend lying on her bedroom floor.
“She used to love playing in the street with her friends. Now she refuses to even sleep on her bed in case the gangsters shoot through her window,” the single mother said.
“Two weeks ago, a bullet pierced through one of our neighbour’s front doors, lodging into one of the walls. Now my girl believes if she stands up straight for too long, she will be shot in the head inside our house.
“How can we be expected to raise our children like this?”
Manenberg police spokesperson Lieutenant Ian Bennett told News24 police have “saturated the area” as SAPS’ tactical response unit, operation combat members as well as Metro Police officers patrol the streets.
“There have been a number of sporadic shootings in the area and the Manenberg officers along with the additional resources have been maintaining a constant presence within the community,” he said.
Four guns were also confiscated over the past weekend, Bennett confirmed.
But residents counter that police are not doing enough to keep them safe.
“I want to see them patrolling the streets from morning until night,” pensioner Amina Johnson insisted.
“Maybe then they will gain the respect and trust of the people they should serve and protect. They need to be more visible to deter these rubbishes from thinking they run the streets.
“I have had enough of being afraid. I will not be held hostage by laaties running around with guns to make themselves feel important.”
A little girl wearing scuffed school shoes, who accompanied her grandmother to the protest, said the gangsters were “bad people who want to hurt everybody”.
“The police must shoot them and then we can see if they like it,” she said. News24