‘Call in the army’

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Another gang shooting, this time in Seawinds, near Lavender Hill, happened three hours after a public meeting between Community Safety MEC Dan Plato and residents.

Plato said on Thursday that he had hamet Seawinds residents at 6pm and they had told him they were living in fear because gang shootings were becoming more frequent and they wanted the SANDF to intervene.

In another part of the suburb, just before 9pm, a shooting involving three suspects landed 22-year-old Carrigan Harrison in hospital.

Police spokesman November Filander said Harrison was in a critical condition.

No suspects have been arrested.

Filander added that additional policemen had been patrolling the Lavender Hill area since the rise in gang violence.

On Thursday the Harrison family refused to speak to the Cape Argus, saying they feared being targeted by the gangs.

”Everyone is afraid. It’s almost like we’re living under a curfew.”

One family member said Carrigan had gone down the road to visit his girlfriend. They had heard gunshots outside just before 9pm.

Philip Bam, deputy chairman of the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance, said on Thursday that police and the provincial government were “soft-pedalling the issue of gangsterism”.

“We must bring in the army,” Bam said.

He said they were tired of meetings and round-table discussions that did not help and gave the gangsters an opportunity to dictate terms instead of solving problems.

“If a tornado were to strike an area, the government would declare a state of emergency. This (gang violence) is worse than a tornado because people are dying every day.”

Bam said that besides the shootings in Lavender Hill last week which claimed the lives of two people – including an eight-year-old – three people had been killed in one day in Lotus River.

“Even elderly people are not safe in their own homes. People are living in fear and they say it is too dangerous to go out. The police don’t want to call in the army.

“President (Jacob) Zuma himself must intervene… he must take an interest in the lives of people on the Cape Flats.”

Filander said the investigation into the murder of eight-year-old Zunaid McKenzie was continuing.

Plato said he had brought up the issue of re-establishing dedicated drug and gang units in his weekly meetings with the SAPS.

“But the police are against such a move. People want the army to be brought in and again, I have raised that with the national Department of Defence, but they are also against it.

“It is not for my department to do the job of the South African police. What we have been doing is running programmes to keep youngsters off the streets to prevent them from joining gangs,” Plato said.

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Cape Argus


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