The murder of a Cape Town primary school girl has led to ANC MP Faiz Jacobs calling for safety of residents to be intensified.
Firdous Kleinsmidt, 12, a learner at Ieglaasi Nieyah Primary School in Beacon Valley, Mitchells Plain, was killed by a stray bullet while on school property as she waited for her transport on Tuesday.
The area is currently a red zone as war has erupted between rivals gangs.
It is alleged the young girl was struck by a stray bullet which hit her in the eye and went through her head.
News of her death has evoked anger, while Jacobs said the learner’s death was a reminder of the pressing issues of crime and gangsterism.
“In this challenging time, we must come together as a community and take action to address the rising crime and gangsterism in our area, especially Mitchells Plain and the Greater Cape Flats. I urge SAPS (SA Police Service) to intensify their efforts to ensure the safety of our neighbourhoods and schools.
“We call on the local Community Policing Forum (CPF) to mobilise for the safety of our learners, as the local councillors, the provincial MEC, and Premier Winde are failing our children. One life is a life too many,” Jacobs said.
On Wednesday, the Grade 7 learner was laid to rest according to Muslim rites and hundreds of people attended her janazah (funeral) to pay their last respects.
Police confirmed they had made an arrest during her funeral.
The Western Cape provincial police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi said members of the Anti-Gang Unit managed to track and trace the suspect.
Detective Sergeant Bradley Schuurman was credited for “sterling” work that led to the arrest of the 27-year-old suspect, who was arrested on Wednesday afternoon in Eastridge, Mitchells Plain on a charge of murder.
Jacobs also said a summit needed to be called.
“We call for a summit with representatives of schools, CPFs, SAPS, and provincial and national government to urgently address gangsterism and violence in schools.
“Our children should be able to attend school without fear for their safety. It is our collective responsibility to provide them with a secure and nurturing environment. We must work tirelessly to make our streets and schools safe for all, and I am committed to supporting initiatives that will lead to positive change in our community.
“Let us honour the memory of the young learner we have lost by taking concrete steps to address the root causes of crime and gangsterism in our areas. May Allah grant the little girl a high place in jannah inshallah,” Jacobs said.
The Imamat Council of Mitchells Plain said it was saddened by the news of the loss of a young life.
“We condemn this indent in the strongest possible terms,” it said.
It further urged communities to come together.
“This incident is yet another example of how rife violence is within our communities and it emphasises the need for our communities to join hands as we work jointly to rid our communities of the scourge of gangsterism, drugs, and all forms of social ills,” it said.
The suspect is expected to appear in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court on Friday, February 2.