Criminals terrorising Khayelitsha residents kill two men in apparent house robbery
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Cape Town - A gang of criminals in Khayelitsha robbed residents and killed several people, including a matric pupil, in one of the homes.
Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said two males were shot and killed during an apparent house robbery in Mawisa Street Lingelethu West at the weekend.
Traut said the unknown suspects fled with television sets and a laptop, and had yet to be arrested. The circumstances were under investigation.
Mihlali Funde, 18, a matric pupil at Rhodes High School in Mowbray, was shot and killed at his home during an alleged robbery. Odwa Tom, 21, died while his parents rushed him to Khayelitsha hospital.
Mihlali's mother, Lorna, said she was not at home at the time when the four suspects came in, stole three plasma TVs, four cellphones and killed her son.
Lorna said her son was never involved in any criminal activities, he was just a bookworm, but alleged the criminals wanted her sister's child, who was involved in criminal activities.
Her neighbour, Babalwa Qumba, said she was still shaking with fear because the robbers also went to her home and asked her to open the door.
“I refused to open, and they decided to shoot at my car,” said Qumba, who stays with her wheelchair-bound mother, who is traumatised because of the incident.
Tom’s mother, Thobeka Salmani, said she wanted answers as to why her child had been killed.
“I got a call telling me to come quickly because my son had been shot.“
Other community members from other sections in Site B, Khayelitsha, also claimed that criminals were terrorising them, and that some broke into their homes asking for plasma TVs and stealing their cellphones, saying they were doing their jobs.
Khayelitsha Community Policing Forum (CPF) chairperson Fransina Lukas said the criminals were becoming more and more brazen.
"This behaviour cannot be tolerated. They must act and deal decisively with these thugs who are terrorising our communities," said Lukas.
ANC community safety provincial spokesperson Mesuli Kama said crime was getting out of hand in poor working-class communities.
"What is reported to have happened in Site B has also been happening in Gugulethu and areas of Philippi. It shows the failures of the Western Cape safety plan, which does not address the underlying causes of crime and violence. Crime mainly affects young people, who are mostly affected by unemployment," said Kama.
He said it also brought to the spotlight the need to address the skewed allocation of police resources in the province.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said Khayelitsha had been identified as one of the crime hot spots in terms of the Provincial Safety Plan.
He said the ongoing terror that Khayelitsha residents lived with, seven years and counting after the Khayelitsha Commission's report, was unacceptable and a constant reminder of the failure of national policing policy and strategy.
"It is abundantly clear that the only way to make a real impact on crime in the province is to empower the provincial government to have more policing responsibility in terms of national policy and legislation. Our citizens in Khayelitsha, and throughout the metro and province, deserve it," he said.