Cape Town – After a spate of murders on the Cape Flats in the past week, residents in Bonteheuwel, Manenberg and Mitchells Plain are fed up with crime, and say their pleas to national government are simply falling on deaf ears.
Mitchells Plain community activist, Rozario Brown, said their communities were infested with gangs. “Our laws must change. They must change immediately. The Constitution must be amended to deal with the current and unprecedented high crime-levels, especially violent crime and the high murder rate in our country,” he said.
“Chad Arendse, 19, who had a bright future and all the requisite qualities to end up a great leader within our community and society was gunned down in cold blood on June 16 for no particular reason.
“Chad will be just another statistic. He will only be mentioned by politicians and so-called community leaders hoping to get mileage out of his violent death. Over the years, I have written and pleaded with many key stakeholders, politicians, people in positions of authority and law-enforcement officers to do more to ensure that our communities become safer for law-abiding citizens, especially our women and children, and be less friendly to these cold-blooded killers, gangsters and drug kingpins who use our children to do their dirty work.”
Brown said many innocent and well-intended people within their communities had spoken out, led marches, held pickets, protested outside Parliament and pleaded with those in authority to do more to ease “our” plight.
“Many politicians have promised more action, more resources and vigour in the fight against gangs, drugs and criminals. But the facts speak for themselves.
“I urge the government to start taking the safety of our people seriously. We know where the drug and gang houses are; we know the top crime hotspots; and we know who the kingpins are behind these horrific crimes. I implore the government, premiers, mayors and community leaders to do much more to rein in these cold-blooded murderers and organised criminals,” Brown said.
Manenberg Community Policing Forum chairperson Kader Jacobs said with the night marches, they hoped to raise awareness and support the community.
“We want to bring national attention to gang shootings in our communities. Our people are tired of the gang violence and are saying we need to highlight our plight and get the ministers and the police to see what’s happening in our neighbourhoods.”
Police spokesperson Siyabulela Malo said they were still investigating the circumstances around a shooting incident that occurred on June 16 in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain.
“No arrests have been made yet.”
Bonteheuwel councillor Angus McKenzie said he had engaged various online Bonteheuwel platforms, religious leaders and the Neighbourhood Watch and agreed in essence that marches had not been effective.
“We have decided to engage community members from the various sectors to bolster community participation and engagement. Too often activities are badly supported and yield no result because engagement is lacking.”
McKenzie said engagement would continue over the next few days, with their first community drive being a prayer service to held at a local church.
“Gangsters are part of our community, and sadly those telling us what happened are in most cases the people who know who did it,” he pointed out.