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‘The police have failed us,’ says Hanover Park imam as protests for peace continue

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By Aneeqa du Plessis

As criminality continues to plague the Hanover Park community, residents once again took to the streets to protest against the ongoing gang violence perpetrated in the area on Sunday.

Speaking on VOC’s Breakfast show on Monday morning, Imam at Masjidun Nur, Moulana Yazeed Benjamin said despite the large turnout, residents need to make a concerted effort to show their support.

“Last week we saw numbers close to 3000 but yesterday there were only a couple of hundred people, but Hanover Park has a population of over 50 000. This violence is affecting everyone not a select few. Can you imagine the message that we can send if every single person living in the area chooses to take a stand against drugs, gangsters, and crime,” questioned Benjamin.

He further reiterated the intention behind the marches.

“We are not trying to acquire name and fame but what we are trying to do is create a space that the next generation can live freely without the fear of being harmed daily. We are attempting to pave the way for a secure society,” said Benjamin.

“The police have failed us. Many shooters that have killed innocent people are still walking the streets freely and thus the community has decided to take back its streets,” added Benjamin.


However, Benjamin believes a system was created to ensure crime runs rampant on the Cape Flats to keep communities from progressing.

“The state thrives when there is instability. With war there is opportunity and like they say in Afrikaans ‘Een man se dood is ‘n anne man se brood’ [sic.] We want a peaceful life in Hanover Park but the system is designed that if we tip-off police, we automatically put a target on our own backs. We want to help bring the perpetrators to book but the officials need to play their part,” said Benjamin.


Benjamin reiterated the importance of reforming perpetrators instead of condemning them.

“We need to realize that our first mission as Muslims is to reform people and give them a chance to right their wrongs. We need to draw examples from the greatest leaders in the history of Islam. Sayyidinah Umar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb (RAH) and Khalid ibn al-Walid (RAH) were the biggest enemies of the deen but once they reverted to Islam they became the biggest assets. Thus, we need to reform these criminals so they may become better people,” added Benjamin.

“We’ve certainly got a long way to go but we are not expecting changes overnight, but we remain hopeful that as time progresses changes will be made and the situation in the area will change for the better,” concluded Benjamin.

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