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Victim's family has been 'living in fear'

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otter shooting victim family

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Cassiem Tofars mother, Faiza, and father, Yusuf. Picture: Thomas Holder.

Cape Town - The family of Cassiem Tofar, the man who was shot dead in Ottery on Thursday morning, said their neighbourhood has been living in fear of gang violence for months.

“And we know this case will run to a dead end,” said Tofar’s mother, Faiza Tofar.

“Just as it did when they killed Iyyoep (Tofar’s brother) nine years ago. Just as it did when Cassiem was shot in the leg last year.”

However, three people have been arrested in connection with the shoot-out, according to police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk.

Police have opened a case of murder and another of attempted murder.

The death of Tofar, 36 is the latest in a spate of killings to have occurred among the few blocks of flats nestled between Old Strandfontein Road and a small canal dubbed “Battle River” by locals.

ottery shooting victim

Cassiem Tofar. PICTURE: THOMAS HOLDER

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Faiza said her son was on his way to the shop to buy cigarettes before work at about 7am when he was killed.

His father, Yusuf Tofar, said: “I heard 10 or 11 shots. When I peeked out of the window I saw my son lying on the pavement. He wasn’t moving.”

The area was cordoned off, but by noon on Thursday Tofar’s body had still not been removed.

Majidie Abrahams, proportional representative councillor for the city’s sub council 21, said: “I know of at least eight of these incidents over the past six months. The community is really living in fear, and something needs to be done. Trust between them and the police is at a low point because there has been no follow-through on most of the murder cases.”

Thursday’s shooting led to an impromptu protest by community members.

As police searched flats for contraband, residents were quarrelling with officers at street level. They alleged that police at their local station, Grassy Park, were being paid off by gangsters to disappear off the streets shortly before such attacks occurred. They claimed members of the Mongrel gang from across “Battle River” came into their community and killed indiscriminately without being arrested.

Residents denied that the Yuru Cats, a gang with Grassy Park links, were still operational.

Van Wyk urged the community to report their concerns about corruption to Grassy Park’s station commander “so that they can be fully investigated”.

Meanwhile, the Cape Argus was told that the shooting had distressed school pupils in the Old Strandfontein Road area.

Resident David Plaatjies said: “Our children are too scared. My daughter came to me this morning and said ‘Daddy, I don’t want to go to school’ after what happened. She goes to Lotus River High School, which is deep in Mongrel territory - there isn’t another option.

“Innocent kids get shot at and mugged when they walk to school, and many have told their parents that they are giving up altogether.”

Community Safety MEC Dan Plato is scheduled to meet Grassy Park community leaders on Friday night about safety concerns.

“Plato will compile a report based on testimony from the community leaders and will hand this report to the Western Cape police commissioner, General Arno Lamoer,” the MEC’s spokesman, Greg Wagner, said.

daneel.knoetze@inl.co.za

Cape Argus


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