Cape Town - The family of a teenager shot dead in a hail of bullets by unknown gunmen is angry with the lack of police and government support for local communities battling gang violence.
Tamika Solomons, 18, was shot and killed by unknown men while walking to a nearby shop in Ottery on Monday just after 8pm.
Police have opened an investigation but have yet to make any arrests.
Solomons’s mother, Jillian Solomons, said: “I’m so heartbroken. My daughter was a sweet soul. Everyone here loved her. I don’t understand why she was murdered. They shot her three times.
“I can’t even say it was stray bullets because there was no one else in the road but her. Couldn’t they see she was a girl, not their enemy? She was my child, and they took her from me.”
Tamika, a Grade 11 pupil at Fairmount High School spent the day at home making cupcakes for her younger brother’s birthday.
“She wanted to be a social worker because she loved children. There’s no understanding of something like this. I’m completely broken and tired of the cycle of violence and of living in this community. The police don’t care. Neither does our government, or they would have done something to help us.”
Tamika’s father, Izack de Klerk, who was the last person to speak to his daughter on their way to the hospital, said five minutes after she left to go to the shop he heard seven gunshots.
“I ran to the scene and saw her lying curled up. I immediately picked her up, and we got into a car to go to the clinic. I kept talking to her because I didn’t want her to lose consciousness, but just as we got to the hospital gates she closed her eyes.
“She was my good baby girl, Tamika, and she died in my arms. Her last words to me were just Pa, Pa.”
Frustrated with the ongoing gang violence and lack of urgency from police and law enforcement, community leaders, activists and residents plan to stage a demonstration at the Grassy Park police station today to call for the removal of the station commander.
Disgruntled residents said: “The police don’t do anything to protect us. One van patrols the area, and it’s never available when there is an emergency. At this stage, we know they are in the pockets of gangsters because no one is ever arrested for the murders of innocent people here.
“Our people are being killed every other day. We want the police officers stationed here to go, and there should be a rotational system so officers don’t stay here for long. That’s how they get familiar with gangsters, who seemingly never kill each other but innocent people only.”
Tamika’s neighbour, Ayesha Dennis, said at the same time the teen was shot, several gunshots reverberated off the windows and walls of her home.
“We immediately scurried away from the windows and walls, and flew to the ground and just lay there. That’s life here for us.
“I can tell you how my son was killed here across the street from our home, point-blank in his head. The police never once came to me, now this. Something needs to change or, as parents, we are going to keep mourning our children.”