The police and provincial government are struggling to quell gang violence as killings continue unabated with more than 10 people shot and six killed in Mitchells Plain at the weekend. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
The police and provincial government are struggling to quell gang violence as killings continue unabated with more than 10 people shot and six killed in Mitchells Plain at the weekend. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)

Alarm over Mitchells Plain gang violence claiming six lives

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published Mar 1, 2021

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Cape Town - The police and provincial government are struggling to quell gang violence as killings continue unabated with more than 10 people shot and six killed in Mitchells Plain at the weekend.

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said their detectives were probing the circumstances surrounding a Saturday shooting incident which left four people dead and one injured at around 12:15pm, in Maureen Street, Lost City, Mitchells Plain.

Traut said the victims, aged 30, 36, 37 and 64, were shot and killed at close range while a 37-year-old man survived the attack with a bullet wound.

He said it was alleged that an unknown suspect opened fire at the group of five and fled the scene on foot.

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The Saturday shooting comes less than 24 hours after five teenagers were shot and two killed at the corner of Cadillac and Riley Streets in Beacon Valley, Mitchells Plain, on Friday.

Shariefa Abrahams, whose 64-year-old husband Ismail Abrahams was among those who were killed, said her son, Mogamat, was busy making a washing line when the shooting started. Mogamat was left injured in the same shooting.

"The other guys who were shot and killed were planning for a night party that was supposed to be on Sunday after the funeral in the community," she said.

Criminologist at Stellenbosch University’s political science department Guy Lamb said that with the most recent crime statistics between October and December last year, murder and other violent crimes in Mitchells Plain were down, compared to 2019.

Lamb said what's probably been happening recently was revenge retaliation between gangs or sub-gangs.

He said another possibility might be one gang trying to take control of a particular territory.

Mitchells Plain ward councillor Washiela Harris said because of retaliation by gangs, innocent people got killed in the crossfire, and that gangs needed to be removed from communities.

ANC provincial spokesperson for community safety Mesuli Kama said they would write to the speaker of the Western Cape legislature to ask for an urgent establishment of an ad hoc committee to look into the high levels of gang and drug-related violent crimes and murder in the province.

Kama said they would also write to national commissioner Khehla Sitole to ask for the immediate establishment of a police task team to look into the gang wars in the Western Cape.

"Cape Town, especially the Cape Flats, is characterised by high levels of structural, social and income inequality, residential segregation along racial and socio-economic lines, and high unemployment, especially for youth."

He said it was now the time for premier Alan Winde to rethink his R1 billion "cosmetic" safety plan and invest in more resources towards addressing the root causes of violent crimes and infrastructure investment that would assist policing in the areas of Mitchells Plain and the Cape Flats in general.

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said he was deeply angered by the spate of shootings in the Cape Flats, saying that the Department of Community Safety would be expediting the roll-out of additional law enforcement and violence prevention efforts through the establishment of area based teams (ABT) in communities most affected by violent crime.

Safety and security Mayco member JP Smith said he had asked for some Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (Leap) officers to be temporarily redeployed from each of the five hot spot locations to Mitchells Plain to respond to the spree of gang violence taking place there, primarily in Beacon Valley and Tafelsig.

"I have consulted with the provincial government (Fritz) and City law enforcement management," said Smith.

He said it had started yesterday with 30 officers and would be increased to 50 officers today.

Roscoe Jacobs, convenor for a movement #GangsterismMustFall, said they demanded the government to increase the police personnel at all police stations on the Cape Flats/townships.

Anyone with information that could assist in the investigations is urged to contact the Crime Stop number 0860010111 or via the MySAPSApp.

Cape Argus

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