Upset over a lack of interest shown towards their concerns about soaring gang violence in their area, residents of Bonteheuwel took to the streets on Sunday to voice their displeasure. In a march to the Bishop Lavis police station, which was led by the Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum (JPF), the crowd bemoaned the fact that their numerous appeals for assistance continue to fall on deaf ears.
According to the BJPF’s Grant Abrahams, residents were frustrated at the lack of response they were receiving to several letters sent to local policing authorities. Although residents were aware of a lack of recourses available within the police, he said they were still requesting the violence in Bonteheuwel be made an issue of priority.
“Nobody can really look away from all the violence that is going on in the area. We are saying, Bonteheuwel should be a priority right now, and we are writing the letters and they are just not responding to us, “he said.
The ever increasing violence has left residents starved of their freedom to move around safely in the area. Abrahams said shootings were now occurring at any given time throughout the day, particularly during the period where children were returning home from school.
“We’ve got reports from principals that the little ones, around 6 and 7 years old, are wetting themselves at the time when the schools come out. That is how fearful they are that the gangs will start shooting amongst them,” he explained.
Much of the resident’s anger has been directed at Western Cape police commissioner, Arno Lamoer. The JPF has reportedly written several letters to him, highlighting the resident’s frustrations. Abrahams said that during the most recent letter sent, they had requested Lamoer meet with them outside the Bishop Lavis station, in order to hear their concerns.
“General Lamoer was unfortunately unavailable, but he designated the brigadier of the cluster, which is Brigadier Andre Lincoln, to come and address the people and respond,” he said.
Despite this, Abrahams said Lamoer had resolved to meet with the JPF and residents outside the station on Monday evening instead. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)