The coloured area of Durban continues to witness increase in violence; three weeks ago, Antonio Goldstone was gunned down while in bed in his mother’s home.
Yesterday, in the latest shooting to rock the suburb of Wentworth, three more people were shot and wounded, one a friend of Goldstone’s, when gunmen opened fire on a known drug den.
Residents of Woodville Road said two men walked past the den and began firing their guns in its direction. Two teenage boys and a woman were shot.
The residents, who would not be named, said the men had earlier walked through the Hime Street block of flats, asking for the whereabouts of two people.
The father of a 15-year-old boy who was shot said his son was recovering well in hospital.
The man, who also declined to be named, said he did not know the circumstances of the shooting. He rushed from work to Wentworth hospital, after being informed that his son was shot. He learnt that the boy had been walking on the road when the shots went off. He ran to a friend’s home nearby and discovered that he was bleeding.
He said “A bullet grazed him on his back. Another struck him on the arm. He underwent an X-ray and they will remove the bullet soon. In the hospital’s emergency unit, a lady had a bullet wound to her stomach. Another boy had a bullet wound on his face,” he said.
Shortly after the shooting, a WhatsApp message was circulated, asking people to be on the lookout for a white Toyota Corolla with three men wearing hoodies, who were allegedly involved in a shooting incident in Wentworth.
Spokesperson for Wentworth Community Policing Forum (CPF) Pastor Donny Anderson said the intended target of the gunmen was among those shot. Anderson said the boy had fled from his home in Reiger Road to live in Woodville Road, and had been receiving death threats.
Anderson said “This teenager is a friend of a boy who was shot and killed two weeks ago. Someone in the car must have known him and pointed him out to the shooters. These are innocent boys. Until now, nobody has been arrested. This is an ongoing issue. Parents are coming to me for help because they are being turned away by the police. I am at the stage of packing it up. Youngsters are being shot in broad daylight.
“Residents know what is going on but are not saying anything out of fear. There is no protection for witnesses. The provincial task team formed to deal with drugs and gang violence must take these dockets and make arrests”.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said police were still collecting victim and witness statements surrounding the incident. An attempted murder docket was opened at Wentworth SAPS.
Wentworth residents say they fear for the safety of their children and have appealed for intervention from authorities after the latest shooting incidents in the area.
Cynthia Goldstone, mother of Antonio Goldstone, 22, who was shot and killed at her flat earlier this month, pleaded for an end to the violence in Wentworth.
She said “How long must incidents like this continue to happen? What must be done for someone in power to act? That day it was my child, but on another it could be someone else’s child killed like they don’t matter.”
“I don’t understand what this was all about, but people’s lives are constantly disregarded here. I feel like a part of me has been ripped away from me. Once again I ask, how many more innocent children have to die because they can’t be protected from criminals?”
Another resident, who would not be named, said that as a result of gangsterism and drug dealing in the area, it was no longer safe for her son to live in Wentworth.
“What is currently going on is hard on our sons because if they are not taking part in drug dealing, they are being targeted. My child had to leave because a hit was put out on him. We fear for our lives, but more especially for the lives of our children.”
A resident who opened a case at Wentworth SAPS in February after an earlier attempt on Goldstone’s life said he also feared for his son’s life.
He said “I went to the police station on three occasions to warn them to keep a closer eye on the guy that shot him (Goldstone) the first time, and now Antonio is dead. Police complacency in dealing with these thugs is a big problem. I’m concerned for my son and other youngsters here as well. Young men can’t live here any more because they might get killed, and so many are now on the run and living far from home.”
Colonel Willem van Zyl, Wentworth station commander said “We can confirm that a case was opened at Wentworth Saps and the suspect from the incident is currently out on bail. However, it cannot be confirmed that the suspect who shot Mr Goldstone in February had a connection to the most recent shooting”.