Residents of Philippi gather at the Philippi East police station to voice concerns over the recent murders in the area, and the lack of police presence. They were speaking to Brigadier Jorina Zandberg, centre. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

Cape Town - Since Friday night, 13 people have been shot dead in incidents on the Cape Flats and residents are calling for the army to be deployed, claiming the police have failed in their duty.

Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk confirmed eight of the killings.

“On Friday night at about 10.55pm, six women between the ages of 18 and 26 were shot and killed at a residence in 25th Crescent in Marcus Garvey, Philippi East, by unknown suspects who are yet to be arrested.”

Van Wyk also corroborated reports of a double murder that occurred in Hanover Park on Saturday morning, adding that a full-scale manhunt had been launched to bring the perpetrators to justice. 

“The circumstances surrounding a shooting incident at Athry Walk, Hanover Park, this morning at about 7.20am, where the body of a 23-year-old man was found with multiple gunshot wounds, are being investigated. A second person, an 18-year-old woman, was about 10 metres away from him with a gunshot wound,” said Van Wyk.

Meanwhile, ANC Community Safety spokesperson Mesuli Kama said on Sunday that in another killing spree in Philippi East on Saturday, five people were shot dead at Thandi’s Place (a shebeen).

Thembisile Mbenene, a community member from Philippi East, said: “The situation here is beyond the police. It needs the army. If needs be we must suspend the constitution and bring in the army to protect us.”

Sphakamise Ngxowa, also from Philippi East, said: “Why was crime intelligence not deployed after the first shootings of the five women? We should have done as former premier Helen Zille asked and called in the army to protect us because the police have failed.” 

Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said: “The Western Cape government condemns in the strongest possible terms the latest killings and we really want to call on the police to do everything that they can, make every single effort to speedily investigate the deaths of the latest victims. 

“We also call on the community to provide the police with information that can lead to the arrest of these perpetrators. They must be put away in prison.”

As provincial political leaders called for the speedy arrest of the perpetrators, outraged community members staged a day-long protest at the Philippi East Police Station, demanding to see acting provincial police commissioner Mpumelelo Manci. 

Led by ANC provincial chief whip Pat Lekker, community members insisted they would only present a memorandum of their grievances to Manci and sent away the provincial head of the police operations command centre, Brigadier Jorina Zandberg, who came at 4pm to receive the memorandum on behalf of the acting provincial police commissioner.

Leader of the official opposition in the provincial parliament Cameron Dugmore arrived at the police station accompanied by Nyanga Community Policing Forum cluster chairperson Sandile Martin, and while there spoke to Police Minister Bheki Cele by phone in an effort to reach the acting commissioner.

“I’ve been informed, as you yourself heard, that they (the community) have handed over three (previous) memoranda (to the police). I think this is the problem in our province – that certain lives matter more than other lives. I have full understanding and support for the community's demands. They want to give the memorandum to the top-ranking police officer in this province.”

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Cape Argus