Community members in Hanover Park are to take a stand against an upsurge in gang violence that has beset the area over the past two weeks. Residents, led by the National Peoples Movement, will take to the streets on Wednesday in a march against crime and increased gang-related shootings.
While Hanover Park has a notoriety for being a hotspot of gang violence, things have escalated in recent weeks. On Thursday one person was reportedly killed during a shootout at a local primary school, allegedly while learners were being dismissed. The incident has sparked outrage amongst residents.
“They can’t take it anymore; it is growing to unbearable levels for residents and community members of Hanover Park…We have decided that it is time we take this stand to the next level,” said Nadeem Cooper, spokesperson for the Movement.
Cooper says the Movement had first and foremost approached the local schools to gauge what measures are in place to ensure learner safety during such incidents. While they could confirm that most institutions had “very good mechanisms” in place, these measures were only effective to a certain degree.
“What we’ve decided is that we’d like to get the schools involved, targeting those that have directly and indirectly been affected by gang violence. We’ll also be speaking to other stakeholders like the CPF, businesses, community leaders and those who are not from the area but are doing work here, to try and find solutions to solve this problem,” he said.
The march is specifically aimed at directing frustration at SAPS, particularly over a lack of police visibility that the Movement believes could have prevented the recent shootings. The march will head towards the police station in Philippi, where a memorandum will be handed over requesting increased visibility. The memorandum also calls for the police to engage with the community on ways to combat gang violence in the area.
“We understand that it is very difficult to get learners from schools to join during school hours, so they’ll be standing outside their respective premises with placards to share their frustration. The community members, all those residing within the Hanover Park precinct and neighbouring areas are called upon to express their disapproval and anger against what gangsters are doing,” he urged.
The march will be congregating at Freedom Square in Hanover Park at 12pm, and will proceed towards the Philippi police station. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)