With bullets raining down daily in Manenberg, the sound of gunfire and the stress it invokes has proven fatal for a resident.
Commenting on a woman exiting a church on Monday evening who died, Manenberg Safety Forum chairperson Roegshanda Pascoe on Wednesday said “The shock of hearing gunfire was too much for her. She was overwhelmed and had a severe asthma attack that resulted in her death.’’
A 19-year-old boy with Down syndrome, Gershwin Arendse, was another gang warfare victim early on Tuesday morning. Pascoe said the teen was killed by a stray bullet while sleeping on his bunk bed in his family’s wendy house.
Pascoe also said on Tuesday night, a young boy was killed in gang crossfire.
Another Manenberg resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he works in the CBD but doesn’t leave his home at night.
“The shootings are terrifying. When I go to work in the morning I see the bullet casings littering the street outside my home, which is caught between the territory of three gangs.’’
Pascoe says the increase in shootings in Manenberg has been triggered, among others, by the Hard Livings and Americans intensifying their warfare after a stabbing on Saturday.
She has called for Cape Flats residents to march to Parliament and set up their mattresses to demand better intelligence gathering and the lockdown of communities to root out the guns, for one, especially when there is ’’seasonal fighting’’.
“The people of the Cape Flats must rise up to Parliament because we are all in the grip of gang warfare. The only retaliation the government can have is if they turn the guns on us normal, law-abiding citizens, because that is what we see lately playing out.
“We asked the government six years ago if they really want to break down the gangs. Sending in the army to assist the police doesn’t help.
“Where is the police’s crime intelligence, where are the sniffer dogs, where are the metal detectors? Why aren’t these communities locked down entirely to get the guns off the streets.
“The gang fighting in Hanover Park was terrible. But with 60 law enforcement officers being deployed by the City last month, the gangs simply adapt and continue with targeted killings in certain areas.
“When they decide who they want to kill, they create a diversion; not like in Manenberg, where shootings are taking place all over. Can crime intelligence not see this?
“This is seasonal fighting. Whenever it comes to the December holidays, a lot of recruitment takes place when a lot of young men have to show their loyalty to the gang and are put to the test.
‘’We are losing our loved ones unnecessarily because of the incompetence of a government that does not know how to work with its people.’’
She also blamed the increase in gang warfare on Correctional Services paroling many convicted criminals under the guise of Covid-19 concerns.
’’A lot of these guys that have been paroled are linked to gangs, which means the Department of Correctional Services and the judiciary system are just empowering the gangs once again. Shame on all of them, because they haven’t considered the plight of the communities on the Cape Flats.’’