Anti-crime movement People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) made an appearance in Bonteheuwel on Wednesday evening to conduct a motorcade, effectively announcing their presence in the area. Several calls were reportedly made by the Bonteheuwel community for the assistance of Pagad in combating the persisting gang-violence and crime. However, the Bishop Lavis Community Policing Forum chairperson, Graham Lindhorst says that their CPF (which is responsible for overseeing the Bonteheuwel area) does not support any organisation that fights fire with fire.
“We do not support any organisation that promotes violence in attempting to end the violence that’s prevalent in the area,” said Lindhorst.
“We’ve seen a decline in murders for two months now. Even last weekend was a quiet weekend and not because of the deployment of the neighbourhood watch team but because the community is taking things into their own hands.”
At least 44 people have been murdered in Bonteheuwel since the start of this year. Following a call for more visible policing, the City of Cape Town has deployed its new neighbourhood safety team (NST) to the area. About 100 law enforcement officers will be on the ground every day to patrol the area and conduct stop-and-searches.
Representing Pagad, Zohrah Kriel said that despite criticism and the lack of support by certain forums, the Bonteheuwel community had made several requests for the presence of Pagad in the area. She also said that the community’s support of the organisation was displayed on Wednesday evening.
“We’ve heard about the thousands of killings for years. The Bonteheuwel community has repeatedly asked us to come in,” said Kriel.
“We had so many cars following in the motorcade that you couldn’t even count. People were so happy and in support of Pagad.”
Kriel also said that while Pagad’s presence in Bonteheuwel is important, the need for Pagad is not limited to that area alone.
“The crime rate has risen tremendously, and people are at a loss for words. Nothing ever happens with the police. The shootings carry on, guns are still around and gangsters who have been arrested are walking free. People are sick and tired of what’s happening in their areas,” said Kriel.
“Everybody everywhere, is imprisoned in their own homes. There’s a dire need for Pagad in each area because of the gang violence.”