Gangs turn to home-made zip guns

Cape Town -

Home-made zip guns are flooding the streets of Manenberg, with the community policing forum (CPF) worried about the lives of innocent bystanders.

In this file picture police patrol Manenberg, where zip guns are being manufactured in backyards. Picture: Courtney Africa. Credit: CAPE ARGUS

Nine shootings took place in Manenberg over the weekend and one man was killed.

CPF spokesman Kader Jacobs said along with an uptick in gang violence between the Hard Livings and the Americans, the forum had noticed an increase in the number of zip guns being manufactured in backyards. He said it was a “new phenomenon”.

The guns, known as “Zippies” use 9mm rounds, but unlike proper guns, the barrels are not grooved. This meant the direction was random.

“These guns are dangerous and one can’t aim directly, so a lot of innocent people will be affected.”

Jacobs said because police were confiscating illegal firearms, gang members “who had the intelligence”, sought alternatives.

A 33-year-old man was found dead at the corner of Manenberg Avenue and Red River Road at about 1am on Saturday, shot in the head and chest.

Jacobs said the latest surge of gang violence was triggered two weeks ago.

“The brother of a senior Americans gang member was murdered by a Hard Livings member. Since then, it’s been hell.”

The gangs had endorsed a peace treaty last year after 27 people were murdered and 51 others wounded, but the rivalry did not stop.

The two gangs were forming alliances with the smaller gangs. “The Americans are in partnership with the Jesters. But because of the peace treaty they can’t directly target the HLs, instead they use the Jesters.

“Things are really tense here. Last week schools advised parents not to send their children to class because they feared for the children’s safety.”

Only one arrest has been made in connection with the shootings.

The metro police, in an outstanding warrants operation, made 44 arrests on the Cape Flats. One was a high-ranking Hard Livings member.