Durban - A gang from Cape Town is believed to be responsible for a spate of shootings in Sydenham Heights, the latest of which claimed the life of Melvern “Malu” Trow, 39, on Wednesday.
The group, called “The Capetonians”, are said to be holding the Sydenham Court 12 building under siege.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said Trow was attacked at the block of flats by an unknown person, who opened fire, fatally wounding him in the head.
“A case of murder is being investigated by Sydenham police and no arrest has been made,” she said.
Trow was apparently on a flight of stairs when he was attacked.
The local community police forum (CPF) expressed concern at the number of deaths in the area.
The Daily News was told The Capetonians’ boss wanted to take over the drug turf in Sydenham as the drug industry had become too saturated in Cape Town.
Sydenham CPF spokesperson Satish Dhupelia said they believed the shootings were all connected and that there were two rival groups fighting for supremacy.
“We urge the community to contact the CPF or the colonel at the station with any information they have. Some shootings are not reported at all and so the police are not called.
“The community must understand that we need to partner with the SAPS to prevent lawlessness in this suburb,” Dhupelia said.
On Sunday, another resident of the block of flats narrowly missed death as gunshots aimed at him grazed his arm and hit his cellphone in his pocket.
Police said they were investigating an attempted murder.
The man, who would not be named, said he was not involved in drugs but refused to watch as everyone lived in fear in his community.
He believed he was targeted as an example.
He said he paid no attention to a group of people gathered near a flat on the ground floor when he arrived at the building on Sunday.
“I drove to the back of the building to park my car, got out and this guy came from the side. I had expected some kind of confrontation with these people, something verbal or physical, but I didn’t expect them to come with a gun,” he said.
He said the man shouted ‘ek sê’, cocked the gun and pointed it at him.
“He began shooting. There was not a lot of room for me to manoeuvre. I was planted, spinning in one position against the wall.
“When I saw an opportunity, I ducked and ran,” he said.
He said this was not an inter-area war, but Sydenham was under siege at the hands of people from another province.
“How can the police’s hands be tied so much that they let one gang boss and 10 of his people hold an entire area hostage?” he asked.
Another resident of Sydenham Court 12, who would not be named, said trouble at the flats started when people from Cape Town arrived.
“These shootings now happen in broad daylight. By 5pm, we try to get our children inside. We are living in fear.”
Sydenham Heights resident Chadley Thring, 19, was gunned down at the corner of Barns and St Theresa roads in August.
He was due to get married at the time he was killed.
And Wednesday marked a year since Grade 12 pupil Joshua Wilson was killed in a drive-by shooting in the area.