Cape Town - The massive crime crackdown in Manenberg has backfired, with gangs this weekend intensifying their gunbattles and police acknowledging that the gangsters have upped their violence in order to demonstrate that they, not the authorities, are in control.
Running gun battles were reported in the gang hot spot throughout yesterday and at least one resident was murdered and another wounded in the shootings.
The escalation in violence comes two days after the army and police went into Manenberg as part of Operation Fiela (Reclaim), a countrywide initiative targeting various crimes.
Brigadier Andre Lincoln, the provincial commander of the police’s anti-gangster operation, told Weekend Argus yesterday: “What we are witnessing now is a response by the gangsters to Operation Fiela.”
He said gangsters were trying to show police that gangs were in control.
Lincoln described the gangsters as “hellbent on terrorising the community”.
He warned gangsters and drug lords that he would go after them.
“I will be in their faces all the time. They will not live in the comfort of their cozy homes while they deprive others of the same.”
The Manenberg Safety Forum met yesterday in response to the spike in shootings.
It did not convene in the main hub of Manenberg as this was thought dangerous, but gathered in a church nearby.
A number of mothers, who did not want to be named as they feared being targeted by gangsters, attended.
“On Friday night we just heard the ‘ba, ba, ba’ of the guns again. I don’t know how to keep my children safe anymore. The army here the other day made this worse,” one said.
A Weekend Argus team visited Manenberg yesterday and arrived shortly after a shoot-out, apparently between the Americans and Hard Livings gangs.
Weekend Argus saw a police van accompanying an ambulance to the home of an ill resident.
Residents said earlier yesterday a man was shot in both legs in Pecos Walk, in Hard Livings territory.
Roegchanda Pascoe, who lives nearby, said the man’s wounds appeared to be severe.
Other shootings residents reported included gangsters opening fire on each other between homes in a temporary relocation area consisting of containers.
They said the Clever Kids and Dixie Boys had opened fire on each other in a main road in the area.
On the Facebook page Manenberg Gangwatch, which details shootings in the area, a post yesterday morning said: “Sound of R5 machine gun rifles and pump action shotguns echoing though Manenberg.”
Residents said a member of the Americans was murdered in the early hours of yesterday and this had sparked further shootings. The alleged Americans gangster was gunned down at a Caltex garage in Manenberg.
Weekend Argus understands from a number of sources who declined to be named that armed members of the Hard Livings gang positioned themselves on a train station platform behind the garage.
A group of Americans gangsters apparently walked along a bridge over the platform.
The Hard Livings gangsters attacked them.
Three or four members of the Americans ran back towards the garage.
It is understood one of them then ran on to the garage premises and was shot from behind at 3.19am. He died at the scene.
Yesterday police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed the shooting.
She said a 25-year-old was killed by a gunman.
Rwexana also confirmed the shooting that happened hours later.
She said gunmen shot a 52-year-old man in both legs. - Weekend Argus