Cape Town - Gang-ridden community of Hanover Park took to the streets on Wednesday morning, in a stand to voice and fight gangsterism in their area during the #ShutDownHanoverPark march.
Mansoer Arendse, one of the organizers, said they want a safe place for their children to play, more police visibility and demanded a stop of the killings.
Hanover Park Community Policing Forum chairperson Ebrahim Abrahams said the shutdown is an attempt to catch the attention of the Police Minister Bheki Cele, who they hope will help the community by providing additional police resources.
Abrahams said even their councillors were not doing anything to help them, "the Anti-Gang Unit is also not functioning to the community because Cape Flat is big for them," Abrahams said.
He said Hanover Park have at least six to seven "hot spots" and seven gang stations "that needs to be patrolled and be monitored".
The shutdown affected traffic earlier on Wednesday morning as City of Cape Town Traffic Service's Richard Coleman said that due to the Hanover Park Shutdown, Hanover Park Avenue was closed at Govan Mbeki Road. However at around 10:30am "all roads have been reopened".
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said gang shooting is a serious matter, "when visiting a bereaved family in Uitsig some weeks ago, I was struck by how gangsterism, criminality and criminal impunity are undermining the sense of safety and security of families and entire communities".
He said while he was there, "I was told not to stand outside the walls of the house as I would be in the ‘firing zone’. I was told that the abandoned building in front of the bereaved family’s home was often used as a hiding spot for rival gangs before a shootout. I was told that residents of this particular street knew the cars and license plates of each resident because if a ‘different’ car pulled up, this could very well mean that bullets were about to start flying".
Fritz said for that reason, "the Provincial Government has supported the call from communities to deploy the SANDF, not for purposes of cheap political point-scoring, but because the first responsibility of the state is to provide the conditions for the safety of its citizens".
He said the deployment of the army as a peacekeeping force on the Cape Flats would free up police to do investigative work that will help put syndicates, gang leaders, drug dealers and murderers who terrorise people daily, behind bars. "The argument that the SANDF are not trained to fight crime is simply a red-herring," he said.@SISONKE_MD