Stun grenades were used in Manenberg during gang violence, when police and residents clashed. Pictures: Leon Knipe
Cape Town -  A Manenberg woman was killed on Saturday as ongoing shootings continued on the Cape Flats.

JP Smith, Cape Town City Council’s mayoral committee member for safety and security and social services, said their Shotspotter gunfire detection technology recorded about 250 shots fired in the area from midnight to midday.

He said the area has been declared a “red zone” after metro police officers were attacked by community members while arresting a suspect who was in possession of a firearm.

Metro police said teams will only enter red zones in large numbers to avoid potential threats and attacks fromresidents.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut confirmed a 22-year-old woman was shot in Rio Grande Street and taken to hospital, where she died. He said a murder case is being investigated. No one has been arrested.

A police source told the Weekend Argus that the woman, Michaela Hendricks, was holding a 6-month-old baby in her arms at the time she was shot in the back. The baby was unharmed.

The source added that SAPS members are being attacked by community members when making arrests.

According to the source, police were forced to release a suspect after hundreds of residents threatened officers during the arrest.

In an earlier crime, 14-year-old Zinadine Pelton lost his life in crossfire in Hanover Park, near his house in Donegal Court, on Tuesday. He was shot in the chest.

A police source said there have been three fatal shootings as a result of gang violence in Hanover Park in March alone. The source added that the current situation was mainly due to retaliation taking place between rival gangs.

Craven Engel, chief executive of the First Community Resource Centre in Hanover Park and co-ordinator of Operation Ceasefire pilot project, said the situation is “terrible”.

“People are frustrated, they feel failed by law institutions.” One of the major concerns, he explained, was that suspects found with guns are arrested and then released.

"They are responsible for the violence. There is not much we can do if the justice system does not play its part.”

Operation Ceasefire was implemented by the City of Cape Town in 2013 and was based on the Cure Violence model that started in the US. The objective is to reduce the number of gang-related shootings and killings, raise awareness and promote public education regarding alternatives to violence.

Smith said the programme includes community mobilisation, mass media exposure, and the deployment of violence interrupters and outreach workers.

“These violence interrupters are recruited from the community and are required to engage with gang leaders and high-risk individuals and participate in mediation and conflict resolution.”

He said that up until 2016, there has been a 26% reduction in fatal shootings in Hanover Park, compared with 2012.

“This means that 11 fewer people were shot dead in gang-related shootings compared with baseline year of 2012. There has been a 37.26% reduction in the number of shots fired in Hanover Park compared with 2015.

“The Shotspotter technology has been implemented in Hanover Park and Manenberg since June and this will have contributed to the reduction in the number of gunshots in the area.

“The number of gunshots recorded in Hanover Park in June 2016 was 277 in 86 separate incidents and this has reduced to 60 in 30 separate incidents in December 2016.”

Despite ongoing gang violence in Hanover Park, Smith claimed Operation Ceasefire was successful.

He said there are plans to roll out Ceasefire to other communities exposed to gang violence.

“The city is considering incorporating the Ceasefire methodology as an element of an area-based social crime prevention and crime prevention strategy for suburbs experiencing similar high levels of gang-related violence, based on lessons learnt with various projects including the Stabilisation Unit, the School Resource Officers and Neighbourhood Safety Officers."

But he made it clear that social crime prevention initiatives such as Ceasefire were unlikely to reduce gang-related violence and stabilise communities on a sustainable basis on their own.

Weekend Argus