Cape Town - Hundreds of mourners gathered in Mitchells Plain yesterday to say goodbye to slain schoolgirl Firdouz Kleinsmidt as cops arrested her alleged killer.
Tears flowed at the funeral of 12-year-old learner from Ieglaasi Nieyah Primary School. She had been struck in the eye by a stray bullet while standing outside her classroom amid an ongoing war between the 28s and the Nice Time Kids gangs in Beacon Valley, Mitchells Plain.
Hours after the shooting, angry community members descended on Beacon Valley, marching on the homes of suspected drug dealers and gangsters.
Yesterday, hundreds of mourners gathered in front of the Beacon Valley school before making their way to her Lentegeur home.
The newly elected president of the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC), Sheikh Riad Fataar, said people were fed up with the plague of gangsterism.
“In the MJC office we don’t say ‘Enough is Enough’ any more, we say ‘Ons is gatvol.’
“We came from these communities, we live in these communities. I was raised in Bonteheuwel – we had to duck and dive from gangsters’ bullets and it’s over 40 years later and we are still ducking and diving.
“When do we get the plan of action – the police still don’t know how to tackle this. The government must stop saying it’s poverty and come and help people.
“Our people are doing their duty, our mothers are taking children to school, the neighbourhood watches stay late at night. Where are the police?”
Anti-crime activist Yusuf Abramjee also addressed the community and said: “We are not here to fight the police, but we are here to support them. Community Safety and Police Oversight MEC Reagen Allen said in the last six months the Western Cape has had 401 gang-related incidents on the Cape Flats.
“He also confirmed that one person was arrested, but they are looking for four more others. Make sure those cold-blooded killers do not get bail.”
He also announced that a sponsor has donated R100 000 to fight crime on the Cape Flats.
Police spokesperson Joseph Swartbooi confirmed the arrest and said: “Sterling investigative work by Detective Sergeant Bradley Schuurman of the Anti-Gang Unit led to the arrest of a 27-year-old male yesterday afternoon in Eastridge, Mitchells Plain, on a charge of murder.”
The suspect is set to appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on Friday.
Community Safety MEC Reagen Allen has commended the police for the swift arrest.
Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis also welcomed the arrest of a suspect.
“This is a most heart-breaking tragedy of a 12-year-old child killed while simply waiting outside her school for her transport home. What her family is going through is indescribable, and I extend my deepest condolences and my personal prayers to them.