Cape Town - First she lost her home and all her belongings in a fire that swept through 350 shacks in Valhalla Park last Monday. Just hours later, Ragmat Mohamed’s teenage son Raqueen was shot six times in what appears to have been a gang-related incident.
Still recovering from the shock of the fire, she saw her 15-year-old son come running towards her, bleeding from gunshots wounds to his chest, stomach and leg.
The family had gathered at the site of their burnt shack. They had wanted to make sure no one else moved in to build on their plot. While they were there, Raqueen received a phone call from a friend and went to his place.
“Minutes after he left, he came back running and he had blood all over himself. He was shot in chest, stomach and in the leg,” Ragmat said.
She said Raqueen was not involved in gangs and was attending school and playing soccer.
“I spent the week including Christmas in hospital. It’s sad because I nearly lost my son through something that he is not even part of,” she said.
His father, Ranell Simons, believes it was an act of revenge to get back at a family member who was part of a gang.
“I don’t see other reason but that. One of our family is involved in these gangs here. I suspect that is the reason for him getting shot because there is no other way of getting to someone than through a child, which is sad,” he said.
He said it was not the first time he had heard gunshots on that day.
“It was the second time we heard gunshots. When we were trying to retrieve our belongings we heard gunshots,” said Simons.
Police Spokesman Andrè Traut said a case of attempted murder had been opened.
On Sunday, Ragmat started rebuilding her shack. She was one of about 100 families who were given building materials by the city council on Sunday after being left destitute by the fire. Each family received 25 sheets of corrugated iron, a window, a door and about 15 wooden planks.
Some were happy to get the material after having to sleep out in the veld for a week, but others complained that the materials were insufficient.
The city was due to hand out the materials on Friday but was unable to because of an illegal protest on Thursday when a group of residents blocked the road by burning tyres and throwing stones at the police. The police responded by shooting rubber bullets.
Provincial ANC chairman Marius Fransman visited the area on Friday and said people were unhappy with “empty promises” made to them.
More than 1 400 residents were left destitute by the fire.
Sharon Fortuin, a mother of seven who has lived in Valhalla park for eight years, said she was not satisfied with the materials.
She and her husband do not work and they receive a social grant for their children.
“There are nine of us sharing this place. We have a three-month-old baby. It’s not good for her and we don’t have a bed to sleep on. We sleep on the mattress and some sleep on the floor. Our shack used to be enough for us before it got burnt.”
She said, however, it was better than nothing because they had been sleeping on the field. “At least now we have a roof over our heads.”
Provincial MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz, who also visited Valhalla Park on Sunday, said their purpose was to help those who were vulnerable – the elderly and the children.
“Our role is to continue to see how we can support and assist them. We have got the list of all the vulnerable people… We are not talking, we are going to be practical about this,” said Fritz.