MEC for Safety and Security Dan Plato

Barbara Maregele

PARENTS in Uitsig and Elsies River say they are fearful of unmasking gang and drug bosses because their children would be targeted and killed in revenge.

Uitsig resident Felicity Busili, 37, grew up in Aster Avenue and now raises her three children there – aged 15, nine and two – and her 16-year-old brother.

“In our road there are about five tik houses, three owned by one gang boss. I’ve seen how police stand outside these places and are friends with them, but I can’t say anything because the gangsters will come after my children,” she said.

Yesterday, Busili joined a large group of residents who gathered on an open field in Aster Avenue, scene of a number of gang shootings in recent weeks.

Safety and Security MEC Dan Plato returned to Elsies River and Uitsig after he had met residents to discuss their concerns over the spate of gang violence last week.

“It’s a matter of time before our children also get involved in these gangs and drugs. I already suspect that my brother is getting involved in this and I don’t know what to do,” Busili said.

She said ever since a tavern opened in their road four years ago, they have seen an increase in shootings and gang activity.

“We have raised the issue so many times and still nothing has been done. Our children have to play in the park opposite the pub and it’s not safe.

“I don’t allow my children to play there anymore because the shootings start any time,” she said.

Busili said the community has lost faith in the police as it appeared they were working with gangsters in the area.

Her neighbour, Jeremiah John, 56, was walking to the shop to buy sugar in Aster Avenue last week when he was caught in crossfire.

“I didn’t see the guys shooting.

“All I heard were gunshots and I ran to hide, but then I felt something hit my arm. It was burning,” he said.

John was one of eight people shot last week in the crossfire between the 26s and 28s gangs.

Plato called for prison sentences of gang and drug bosses to be increased and for specialised police gang units.

“People are concerned that there is not enough recreational activity for the youth in these communities. Developments that amount to about R18 million are under way in the area, but it’s not enough to eliminate the problem,” he said.

Plato said he planned to visit Lavender Hill and Manenberg next week as part of his “practical intervention” campaign aimed at reaching people in the streets of their communities and combating crime.

[email protected]