PICS: Bloody weekend in Khayelitsha as mass killings leave 13 dead
Share this article:
Cape Town - The killing of a man in RR-section, Site B, Khayelitsha, on Saturday seemed to have been the catalyst for a bloody weekend in the sprawling township which, at last count, has left 13 people dead as gunmen went on the rampage in several incidents police said were linked.
Provincial government has come out to state that the latest killings were likely linked to extortion rackets operating in the townships as rival gangs fight for dominance.
The Cape Argus visited the scene on Sunday. The distraught aunt of one of the victim’s, Asemahle Mayekiso, said he was shot and killed at the door in front of their home.
“I do not know why they killed him. He was an innocent child who never did anything wrong to anyone,“ said the aunt.
She said that according to the child who was in the house at the time, she heard Asemahle’s knock, and then gunshots. “When she opened the door, Asemahle was down and bleeding.”
A witness who was playing video games on Saturday evening at home with his friends said they heard gunshots, and out of curiosity went to the windows of the shack to see what was happening.
“We saw a group of about 15 men carrying guns, some carrying two, in each hand. They were wearing masks and were not easily identifiable as they passed our shack," said the witness.
He said they carried different types of firearms, which included R4 and R5 rifles; some carried 9mm pistols.
“We were scared and shaking at the time, but we made sure that we switched off the volume of the PlayStation so that no one would hear us,” said the youngster.
Police spokesperson Novela Potelwa said that following the murder of a man in the RR Section on Saturday morning in a shooting incident by assailants, several other shooting incidents were reported in the area in the afternoon.
Potelwa said the body of the first victim was found in Banzi Street, Site B, with several gunshot wounds next to a firearm at 10am on Saturday. The police also found a substantial amount of cash.
Potelwa said that in a second incident that was believed to be a retaliation attack after the first murder, two Somali nationals were shot on Saturday afternoon. She said one died on the scene and the other died in hospital.
"In the RR Section, three other men were shot dead later on Saturday afternoon in an incident believed to be linked to the first two. At a spaza shop in Y-Block two other men were shot dead, one in the yard and another in a vehicle," said Potelwa.
She said reports also indicated two other Somali nationals were shot close to a spaza shop in the area. One died on the scene while the other was taken to hospital where he later died.
"Additional information has since emerged that two other victims of the shooting incidents who were taken to Tygerberg Hospital and the Khayelitsha District hospital later died," she said.
Potelwa said the police have since reinforced deployments in the area. While organised crime detectives were hard at work probing multiple murder and attempted murder cases, police provincial commissioner Thembisile Patekile had ordered a 72-hour activation plan for the mobilisation of resources in search of the gunmen.
The activation plan had yielded results as on Monday it was announced that 11 suspects were arrested in connection with the spate of murders which unfolded in Khayelitsha over the weekend.
According to SAPS, the Western Cape police’s integrated task team, which comprised Lockdown II forces, intelligence officials, organized crime detectives and a combat contingent, tracked and traced the suspects to a hotel in Sea Point at 03:00.
They are being questioned with a view to charging them later.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson Ndithini Tyhido said the forum was saddened and angered by the senseless killings.
Tyhido called on all the three spheres of government to stop the alleged politicisation of community safety and combine efforts to route out the scourge of extortion gangs in communities.
Khayelitsha community policing forum chairperson Fransina Lukas said the community has been reeling from shock and felt unsafe. She said drastic interventions by the police were needed to make the community safe again.
Police Minister, Bheki Cele applauded the work done by the Western Cape police on Monday.
“The 72-hour plan is yet again proving to be an effective tool in the apprehension of those responsible for violent crimes.
“We believe these arrests will lead us to more answers surrounding the heinous acts linked to extortion and are a major development in our efforts to combat the crime of extortion.
“We owe it to the consistent and hard work of all those in the multi-disciplinary team that has brought about this breakthrough,” Cele concluded.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said: “I would like to welcome the arrest of the elven suspects by the SAPS early this morning.
“We need to commend SAPS for their work in this regard. The arrest shows that we can beat crime. The arrest shows that we will beat crime!”
ANC Dullah Omar secretary Vuyiso Tyhalisisu said the regional leadership visited Khayelitsha after the attacks to receive a briefing from the community and the leaders.
Tyhalisisu said the people of Khayelitsha were now living under unacceptable conditions of fear and intimidation from gangs and lawlessness.
A criminologist at Stellenbosch University’s political science department, Guy Lamb, said sometimes the killings were related to tensions between gangs and vigilantes.
“We have also seen that in Philippi East where massacres happened because of conflict between vigilante groups, community groups and gangs,” said Lamb.
Anyone with information that could assist in the investigation is urged to contact the Crime Stop number 0860 010 111 or via the MySAPSApp.