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Pleas on deaf ears: Bonteheuwel Forum

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The Bonteheuwel Joint Peace Forum says they are outraged by government officials’ lack of interest in gang violence in the area. The forum has issued authorities with a 10 day ultimatum to address their concerns, or face protests. Residents say they have seen fatal shootings everyday over the past three months, but little to no response from government.

The forum’s spokesperson Suraya Salie said they have written an open letter addressed to a number of high ranking government officials, calling for immediate intervention in tackling the escalating issue of gang-violence and crime in the area. The letter was addressed to amongst others, President Jacob Zuma, City of Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille, Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, and Police Commissioner Arno Lamoer.

The letter was being directed at all spheres of government, in the hopes that a unified effort could help quell the raging violence not only in Bonteheuwel, but across the Cape Flats.

According to the Forum’s Judy Kennedy, they rejected any notions of the letter being politically motivated, insisting that the organisation did not “subscribe to party politics”. However, she asserted that the issue of gang-violence was one that had become hugely politicised.

Describing the conditions in the area, Kennedy noted a sense of fear in the community, with many residents too afraid to travel to work in the morning, and children fearful of leaving their homes to play outside.

“Children are scared when they come out of school and when they go to school, because that is when a lot of the shootings happen. Children can’t play outside. People are too scared to even go to the shop down the road,” Kennedy noted.

Kennedy said the issue was not something that could be resolved immediately, attributing it to a deep rooted problem within the community. According to her, these issues needed to be addressed by government.

“That is where all spheres of government come into play. We don’t necessarily have the solutions, but we are trying to see are the alternatives that we can put into place. That is the focus of the Joint Peace Forum,” she explained.

Kennedy also made an urgent appeal to local government to have the areas community centres reopened, noting that those centres could be used to provide alternative past-times to keep the youth off the streets.

“Those centres are closed today, and are not being used effectively. That is just one of the issues,” she noted.

The Forum had received a response from Community Safety MEC Dan Plato, who confirmed that he would host a committee meeting in area within the next two weeks.

The letter has reportedly not been received well by Mayor De Lille, with Kennedy suggesting the Mayor had taken offence to the forum’s promise of intensifying its campaign, should they not receive feedback.

“There has been a response from the Mayor on a radio station, where she asks how we dare give them an ultimatum. This is a community that is crying out for help, and you want to treat that as a threat,” she said.

The City of Cape Town has refused to grant VOC an interview on this matter. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)


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3 comments

  1. Salaam.My name is Yushra Waterloo working together with Proudly Bonteheuwel in Bonteheuwel from Bonteheuwel.
    It is true that gangs are shooting any given time day and nite.We Proudly Bonteheuwel had made many things possible in the area.We do CHARITY in every part of the CAPE FLATS and has gotten good responds.

    1. I cannot help by saying that I started with getting poliice to patrole at schools.I walked to every school in Bonteheuwel to see kids get safe to school,yet my son was walking alone.
      Since the schools open in January this year I have been mailing letters and gotten feedback from schools.How can they be leaders of Bonteheuwel and talk for all when no-one knows JPF.

      I have been working close to Proudly Bonteheuwel and thus far we have accomplished a lot.JPF degrade community of Bonteheuwel that does not agree to a certain method or strategy.I talk for myself and not for the People of Bonteheuwel.I would realy like to meet JPF.

      We have contacted them on many occations to workk togetther but stiil no reply.

      Thank you for reading my mail.
      Yushra Waterloo.

  2. Slm and a good day to all. I am also a resident of Bonteheuwel and would love to know who the JPF is. The people of our community don’t know this forum. May I ask why the Counsellors of B/H is not part of this forum. I also wish to ask, who mandated this group to speak on my behalf? Personally I’ve made contact with all the above contacts and the process of action was already set in place before the letter of demand was sent. This week, 18th-21st(today) police and Law Enforcement was hard at work cleaning our streets. It is truly sad to have a podcast that record JPF saying they trying to create opotunities yet I sent 3 members of JPF contact details for Trauma counseling in our area that was rejected by them. Is The plea Falling on deaf ears? Not at all!! The City heard our cry hence JPF had a meeting with Alderman JP Smith where they subsequently moaned cause more people were invited fighting the same stuggle and caused the others (proudly Bonteheuwel and Mr and Mrs Andrews who was not affilited to any community group) to be removed from the meeting. We were invited cause we mailed them relating to the problem, we wrote letters, (one published in the Cape Argus, Athlone News) that made our plite known. I am commenting this not to break any organisation but to inform you that the city is working with us. I feel the mayor had the right to question the motive of the letter cause I believe, if you want help, you cannot treatern and expect help. You work alongside and help will be more then what you expected.

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