A group of New Crossroads schoolboy gangsters, believed to be one of a number of gangs terrorising the area’s pupils, have been suspended from school .
The group will be allowed to return to Sithembele Matiso Secondary School only on November 11 to write exams.
Western Cape Education Department spokesman Paddy Attwell,said the department was aware that the school was looking at disciplinary action involving pupils who may have been involved in gang-related fighting.
The department was expected to provide more details on the suspensions today.
Last week, the Cape Argus reported on three separate attacks on pupils inside their classrooms at the school. In one attack, a boy was assaulted with a chair. In another, a 16-year-old was attacked with an iron pole, kicked repeatedly by five boys and had to be hospitalised. He claimed it was because he refused to join their gang.
Other pupils also spoke of how they lived in fear of the teen gangs who lived in their area and attended their school.
The Cape Argus found a group of pupils sitting in a park in New Crossroads during school hours.
Six of the 12 boys said they were 15 to 18 years old and were in Grades 8 to 10. They said they had nothing better to do than hang around in the park all day. The others declined to divulge their age.
The group felt they had no future, and the only way to get out of the township was to get their hands on “easy” money.
A 16-year-old boy had “thug life” tattooed on his thin arms. He denied his gang – who they claimed had no name – was responsible for robbing classmates.
“That happened in those days. We don’t rob them any more,” he said.
They did admit, however, that they were always looking for a fight.
The boys, who also admitted to smoking dagga to “clear” their minds, said they were not afraid of anyone. They spoke of a rival gang in the area called the Rwanda Boys. The two sides did not venture into each others’ territories.
“If we catch one, we will beat them and cut their bones,” they said.
A 15-year-old boy displayed fresh stab wounds on his hands.
He said their group sometimes carried knives, but not guns. They had no real need for weapons.
“We want to fight with our fists. Man to man. It’s the only way to do it,” he said.
But violence has cost at least one family dearly.
On October 3, Terrence Nyoka, 22, was bludgeoned to death metres from his home. The boys in the park said he was a friend of theirs.
His mother, Noxolo Nyoka, said she heard her son arguing with boys outside their gate.
Her son came back inside the house after he was hit over the head with an empty glass bottle. He told his mother that there was a misunderstanding.
Nyoka said a neighbour’s son called her to the gate and told her that her son would die. Her son had then again left the house.
Thirty minutes later, he was lying in the street. A brick and a cement block were found next to him.
“There was so much blood, it was like somebody had slaughtered a cow,” she said.
Terrence died in hospital later that morning. No arrests have been made for his murder.
“I see these young boys walking around. It’s as if they are boasting,” said Nyoka.
Her younger son is a pupil at Sithembele Matiso Secondary. He did not want to go back there, says Nyoka, because he saw his brother’s “murderers” every day.
She said their family, and several others, lived in fear every day because the young gangsters were holding their community hostage.
[email protected] - Cape Argus