Cape Town – Police have attributed a drop in the murder rate from 55 to 25 over the past three weekends to deliberate efforts to quell organised crime, including placing the army in crime hot spots.
The provincial Forensic Pathology Service yesterday reported that 25 bodies at state mortuaries at the weekend were due to violent murders.
Of the 25 people murdered, 18 were shot, four stabbed and three were killed by other means.
The body count was down from 43 last weekend, and 55 the previous weekend.
The reduction in murders came as the SANDF continued to be out in full force on the Cape Flats, working to quell organised crime.
Police Minister Bheki Cele said the number of people killed was still a concern, but the decrease was as a result of targeted operations.
Anti-gang operations on the Cape Flats have been active since Thursday with raids, roadblocks and stop-and-go-searches being conducted in Manenberg, Hanover Park, Delft, Kraaifontein, Blikkiesdorp and Khayelitsha.
Hanover Park and Manenberg residents said their communities were a bit more stable, but they still feared short stints would not have a lasting effect on the gang violence terrorising their neighbourhoods.
When Lindiwe Zwilibi saw her children Aphiwe, 25, Sikelela, 17, and her nephew Sonwabo, 18, lying in their coffins at the weekend, she broke down as she realised they were never coming back.
The Zwilibi children were among 11 people who were shot and killed within a 24-hour period two weeks ago in Philippi East.
The reeling families said they were still seeking answers as police had yet to inform them of whether they had made any arrests.
“I’m still in denial that they are really gone, they were my babies, even Sonwabo. I raised him like my own after his parents died. Watching the coffins being lowered was worse than seeing them in their coffins,” she said.
“As a parent you wish to grow old, so your children bury you. But in this lifetime and in the areas we live in we are burying our children due to violence,” Zwilibi said.
Cele said following national joint- intelligence operations that three suspects were arrested in connection with the Zwilibi murders.
Sonwabo, Aphiwe and Sikelela were found by their friend in his shack in Lower Crossroads.
The friend reported that he had gone to the shop to buy liquor, and made the grim discovery when he returned.
The grieving Williams family buried cousins Queen and Norooi.
They were among the six women who were shot and killed in the Marcus Garvey community in Cape Town earlier this month.
Premier Alan Winde said yesterday that they welcomed the impact the SANDF had made so far.
“We appeal to the police to continue to make maximum use of this period of relative stability to catch the culprits who are driving crime and disorder in our communities,” Winde said.
“We have seen from this weekend the impact of having additional resources on the ground, and a tactical response to crime-fighting and crime-prevention.
“By increasing visible policing and intelligence-led investigations, we can start to root out criminals,” he added.