31 killed in 31 days in Cape suburb
Cape Town - The death count in Delft has risen to 31 in 31 days, with most of the deceased being youths who were forced to join gangs.
Teenagers, some as young as 14, are being forced to join gangs in Delft and the community says those refusing to be recruited into the ranks of the Barbarians and Junior Cisko Yakkies (JCY) gangs are being shot at in the process.
Most of the killings have taken place in Section 16 in Leiden.
Delft Leiden Community Police Forum member Salone Dube said gangs were recruiting kids all the time and they were fearful of being outside.
Police spokesperson Andre Traut said members of the Tactical Response Team (TRT) and Public Order Police (POPS) have been deployed to monitor the situation.
“We have noted with concern the recent spike of murders in Delft. Immediate intervention has been instituted by deploying additional resources comprising POPS and TRT members to the area. Thus far 10 arrests have been effected and 15 firearms have been confiscated.
“The situation has somewhat stabilised. However, our forces will continue with crime prevention operations as well as tracing operations in an effort to curb crime in the area. The situation is closely monitored from a provincial level as well,” he said.
Delft Cluster Community Police Forum acting chairperson Reginald Maart said: “Thirty-one murders were reported for the month of August. Furthermore, the lucrative drug trade and drug market are the breeding grounds for gangsterism and gang conflict, which in most cases lead to the loss of lives.”
Nokwezi Ntantali, whose 20-year-old son is fighting for his life in ICU, said her son was shot four times on Friday for refusing to join the JCY gang.
Ntantali said on Friday evening about five young men came through their gate and went to the back where her son lives. She heard a number of shots, the group raced off and she found her son lying on his bed bleeding. He had been shot four times.
“He has been telling me that JCYs were recruiting him. He said he was not interested in joining gangs as he is working. We are hopeless and live in fear as parents,” she said.
A resident, who did not want to be named out of fear for her life, said her 14-year-old neighbour’s son was shot dead on Monday for refusing to join the Barbarians.
“We do not know what might happen to our children. These gangsters are terrorising the community. Imagine forcing a 14-year-old to join a gang.
“That means these gangs are destroying the future of our children. If nothing is done to stop this, we will be left without children,” she said.
The City’s Law Enforcement director, Robbie Robberts, said their gang-stabilisation unit had been deployed in Delft following the gang-related killings.
“The Delft police station commander requested the assistance of law enforcement on Tuesday. We will be linking up with members of operation combat in SAPS to end these killings. Our focus is on Delft now,” he said.
Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said: “The number of killings in any single community is a grave cause for concern, let alone in such a small time period. That is why I will be meeting with the Delft community and the leaders tomorrow (Thursday) evening to listen to the grievances and try to establish what the root causes of the problematic scenario is.”
He said religious leaders, the SAPS and local councillors will attend this evening’s meeting.
Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Paddy Attwell said the shootings have not affected education, although the situation is tense.