AN ORGANISED crime group is suspected to be behind a series of high-profile gang shootings that have occurred in the past 10 weeks, says a church leader.
In one of the latest incidents, Ivan Waldeck, who helped form the Western Cape Community Outreach (Wecco) – a forum which deals with negotiating between rival gangsters – was wounded in a shooting near Bellville on Sunday as he was leaving church.
His wife was shot in the face.
This comes after Waldeck’s friend and co-founder of the forum, Albern Martins, was murdered outside the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on March 1.
And in two other incidents, the home of Jerome Booysen, the businessman named in court last year as a suspect in the killing of underworld figure Cyril Beeka, was shot at and last week his brother was wounded in a drive-by shooting.
Yesterday, a close friend of Waldeck and Martins and Wecco’s secretary-general, Louis Green, said: “It’s our suspicion that the shootings are linked. We think it’s… about the drug trade and turf…
“I think the people that gave the instruction to take out Pastor Martins are the same people that took on Pastor Waldeck because of the peace talks.”
Green was referring to talks Martins and Waldeck had facilitated between rival gangsters to bring about peace. He said some gangsters were against peace as this meant they would not be able to operate properly in terms of selling drugs.
Green said it was suspected those ordering the shootings were in prison for other crimes.
He said they were highly organised and had someone that watched their targets.
“There was surveillance before the hit (on Waldeck). The moment he was shot was too precise. It was methodical,” Green said.
He said Waldeck had been in his church, the Holy Nation of God, on Sunday before the shooting. As he was leaving the church in his car, a car pulled up and shots were fired at him and his wife. Yesterday, both were stable in hospital.
Green and his colleagues believed the person who fed information on Waldeck’s movements to the shooters had been in the church watching Waldeck during the service.
He and his colleagues were not afraid of being targeted, but were being careful.
Instead of going into communities to hold talks about gang violence and other problems residents were experiencing, they were inviting residents to meet them at their Wecco building in Bellville South, which had 24-hour security.
“If we should go out there into communities, we don’t know who the guys are that shot Pastor Waldeck and what they will do next,” Green said.
Yesterday, police spokesman Frederick van Wyk said he could not confirm a link between the Martins and Waldeck shootings as an investigation was still under way.
Another spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana confirmed officers were probing the shooting of Colin Booysen outside his home on Thursday.
He said Booysen had been arriving home when occupants of a Toyota Tazz shot at him.
On March 28, Colin Booysen’s brother, Jerome Booysen, previously named in court as the leader of the Sexy Boys gang, also appeared to be targeted.
Van Wyk said two unidentified men in a white Nissan had thrown a petrol bomb at Booysen’s garage door in Bellville South and fired three shots at his home.
He said Booysen had not been there at the time, but his daughter and security had.