Cape Town - An 18-year-old intern in Premier Helen Zille’s office and his girlfriend were shot dead in Delft on Sunday evening.
Jarryd Manuel and his girlfriend, Megan Hendricks, 19, were shot outside Manuel’s mother’s home in Vuurlelie Street shortly after 8pm.
Zille sent her “deepest condolences” to Manuel’s family.
“This is a tragic and senseless death that highlights just how serious the crisis of gang violence is. Jarryd… could have undoubtedly built a successful career for himself using the opportunity offered by his internship.
“It is a significant loss for his family and for our province in terms of the future contribution he could have made in years to come,” Zille said.
On Monday, about 80 concerned parents from Delft marched from the Manuel home to the Hendricks’s residence, which was the route the couple would have walked.
They carried placards and called for an “end to the violence”.
In an emotional interview with the Cape Argus, Hazeline Manuel, Jarryd’s mother, spoke of the terror she felt when she heard the shots.
She had seen her son leave moments before and immediately suspected the worst. Running outside, she found her son and Hendricks lying on the pavement. They were still alive and moving but were unable to speak due to the severity of the injuries.
Manuel said her son had been failed by the police, who had not curbed gangsterism in the neighbourhood.
“There are always anti-gang operations going on. The police say they are doing a lot, but nothing ever changes. Now Jarryd is dead, unnecessarily,” said Manuel.
While the family waited for an ambulance, Shane Daniels, Jarryd’s 26-year-old brother, sat on the pavement next to the dying couple.
Jarryd’s aunts and uncles gathered at Manuel’s home to support her yesterday. Manuel broke down as she described the severe head wound she saw when identifying her son’s body.
Her family painted a picture of an enthusiastic, outgoing and intelligent young man with a bright future ahead of him. Jarryd matriculated from Walmer High School last year. This year he was a PAY Project intern placed in the Centre for e-Innovation at the Department of the Premier.
“He came home one afternoon, overwhelmed with joy because the premier had spoken to him and his fellow interns. He was inspired by her,” Manuel said.
Jarryd considered his stint as an intern to be a gap year and wanted to study sound engineering to pursue a career as a disc jockey.
“Music was his passion and his joy. Now we won’t hear the music again,” said Jessica August, Jarryd’s aunt.
A long-time school friend of Hendricks, who asked not to be named, described her as “cheery” and “beautiful”, adding that she had regularly taken part in beauty pageants and had worked as a model.
Reggie Maart, the community policing forum chairman in Delft, told the Cape Argus of a recent “scourge” of shootings in the area.
He said that at least five people had been killed and a further two injured since Monday last week.
“This area of Delft is wedged right between strongholds of a number of gangs. The shootings are often related to battles for drug dealing and control of turf.
“Very often, however, innocent people are caught up in the shootings simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Maart said.
Police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyk said earlier that a 19-year-old man had been taken in for questioning in connection with the couple’s shooting.