Cape Town - A girl and two teenagers were among five people who were wounded or died in three gang shootings in Mitchells Plain at the weekend.
Jucinta Matroos, 12, a 15-year-old boy who has yet to be identified and Farida April, 40, a single mother of four girls, one of them two months old, died in a shooting in Korfbal Street, Beacon Valley, just after 7.30pm on Saturday.
A friend of Jucinta, Kaylin Marcus, 15, was wounded.
About two minutes later, a woman died in a shooting in Clairwood Crescent, also in Beacon Valley.
“I sent Jucinta to go buy spice at the shop,” the girl’s mother, Julaydi Matroos, said.
“I heard shots and ran outside. I saw two bodies in the road and immediately ran there. I grabbed my child and just held her. I did not know what to do. I just held her.
“I don’t want to blame anyone, but if the ambulance could have been here earlier, maybe she could have survived.”
Matroos said the situation was affecting children badly.
“There used to be children playing in the road almost every day. But since all the shootings (began), there are no children in the road. They cannot play in the parks and they cannot go to school without shots being fired. It is too much,” she said, weeping.
Mitchells Plain Community Policing Forum chairman Abie Isaacs said: “
A shooting is a well-organised attack on (a gang’s) enemy, but this has spilled over to the community.
“There are shootings within minutes of each other and police cannot respond as rapidly to two or three shootings. It is just too difficult, and the gangs know this.”
Isaacs said a man died in a shooting behind the KFC in the Mitchells Plain Town Centre on Friday.
He said the shootings were between members of the 28s prison gang and the Mongrels.
The commander of the Mitchells Plain police cluster, Jeremy Vearey, said: “There have been shootings in the area, but not like the most recent ones. I think when it comes to this type of crime, we cannot control the outcome.
“We cannot have all our forces ready all the time for something as unpredictable as shootings.”
Vearey, who also heads the province’s special team on gangs, appealed to the community to help.
“The locals know who the shooters are. It’s their sons, their uncles and brothers. Give up your family and get us as close as possible.”
Police spokesman Tembinkosi Kinana said it was believed gangsters had been firing at random when they killed Jucinta and the 15-year-old boy. April died in hospital.
MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato visited Jucinta’s family on Sunday.
“The shooting has shocked this community. The parents of the children who were killed wanted answers. I told them that I had no answers,” he said.
“We need to work with the police more frequently. The community needs to stand up, and the only way to take ownership is to work closely with the police.”
A 19-year-old man was shot dead near 18th Avenue in Leonsdale, Elsies River, at 8.45pm on Saturday.
“It is alleged the 19-year-old had an argument with the suspects and that as he was on his way to his house the suspects fired shots towards him,” Kinana said.
“He was hit in the back and died on the scene.”
A murder case had been opened, but no one had been arrested.