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Heideveld community outraged after 18-year-old stabbed by gangsters

Keanu Baaitjies, 18, from Manenberg is fighting for his life in hospital following a stabbing in Heideveld. Picture: Monique Duval/Daily Voice

Keanu Baaitjies, 18, from Manenberg is fighting for his life in hospital following a stabbing in Heideveld. Picture: Monique Duval/Daily Voice

Published Mar 28, 2022

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Cape Town - The Heideveld community is outraged after a young man was stabbed in a gang-related incident, a week after Police Minister Bheki Cele visited the area.

Keanu Baaitjies, 18, from Manenberg is fighting for his life in hospital following a stabbing in Heideveld. He had been visiting family when gang members attacked him for no apparent reason.

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The police confirmed they are investigating a case of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm, but said the suspects had yet to be arrested.

They said Baaitjies was involved in an argument with other men, which became heated, and then the suspects stabbed him and fled.

Witness accounts of the incident indicate that following a confrontation Baaitjies told a group of men that he was not a gang member, and had taken off his shirt to prove this.

The community tried to intervene and offered to escort Baatjies to safety, but this did not dissuade the group who attacked him in full view while the community stood by and watched.

Baaitjies was stabbed multiple times and is still in hospital. The family has decided against opening a case against the perpetrators. His mother, Bernadette Wepener, instead confronted gang members after the incident.

Keanu Baaitjies, 18, from Manenberg is fighting for his life in hospital following a stabbing in Heideveld. Picture: Supplied

Wepener explained: “The reason for facing them was to ask them why they did this to Keanu. They don’t even know him, he was just walking past – he went to go visit his grandmother.

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“What I see in those children’s eyes is fear, I can’t judge these children because they belong to another mother. I told them to their face, for your mothers please boys, don’t do this wicked thing that you did today, Keanu is not a gangster,” she said.

CPF chairperson Vernon Visagie said the situation was close to boiling point, and this incident showed young men in the area needed help.

“The gang bosses are trying to recruit young people. Our young people need to be very careful how they pose for pictures on social media, the gang bosses are watching you and they think they’ve become your role models.”

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He said that while crime in the area had caught the attention of the police minister, the incident was not unique.

“Our neighbourhood watches are under-resourced, our police stations are under-resourced, they are not equipped. The judicial system has failed us, they don’t realise how bad they are failing the community, the law gives more rights to criminals.

“The law and the sentence that they get is not fair because they are not being rehabilitated. How is it benefiting society when they are released? To release criminals who commit even worse crimes when they come out, that is not on.

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“What do we as law abiding citizens do? Our situation is hopeless. Things are at a tipping point where people are going to take the law into their own hands,” he said.

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Cape Argus

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