File picture: Pixabay

Cape Town - A young Gift of the Givers Foundation volunteer has been shot dead after being caught in the crossfire between rival gangs in Hanover Park in Cape Town, the charity organisation said on Saturday.

"How many more innocent deaths will it take? How many more young children must die violently and tragically? How many more parents and siblings must suffer anguish before we act decisively as a nation to stem the endemic community disorder of gangsterism, drugs, and violence," Gift of the Givers founder Imtiaz Sooliman said in a statement.

Ameerodien Noordien, 20, wanted out of poverty in a dignified way - no drugs, no gangsterism, no violence, only honesty, integrity, hard sweat, and lawful earnings to take care of his family, Sooliman said.

His mother Fatima wanted to see the development of a righteous child on the straight path, an asset to society. Ameerodien came into contact with Ali Sablay, a Gift of the Givers project manager in Cape Town earlier this year.

"We needed volunteers, but hire them as temporary paid staff, as many of them come from impoverished backgrounds. Moving, stacking, packing, and distributing 300 containers of bottled water and delivering thousands of bales of fodder in all Cape provinces opened an opportunity for youth like Ameerodien to earn an income, serve society, gain experience, and learn skills.

"That opportunity was violently terminated yesterday, 5 October, at [7pm], at Surwood Walk, Hanover Park, three bullets in the back, one in the head, caught in the crossfire of those who act with impunity, who respect neither law, nor human value, nor the sanctity of life and get away time and time again. Innocent Ameerodien was killed. Decency, hope, aspiration, youth and vibrancy died at the hands of arrogance," Sooliman said.

He called on Police Minister Bheki Cele to make South Africa safer for its 57 million people, saying it could not be more urgent than the present. It was clear that Cele was trying his best to stem crime since taking office earlier this year, despite the problem of resources and personnel, but the Western Cape needed a "Westbury-style [Johannesburg] intervention and we call upon you to make this a reality".

"Simultaneously, community and religious leaders, parents, business, and society as a whole have to work harder, collectively, imparting values and guiding young people away from the path of self-destruction and annihilation. And finally, it is time for gangsters to sit back, reflect and ponder that the havoc, pandemonium, pain, and suffering that they wreak; will it ever bring serenity to their own souls. Reformation has to come from within. It has been done many times before and it certainly can be done today.

"The farming community has so been touched by the nobility of his [Noordien] character that they have started contributing to Gift of the Givers for Ameerodien's family. His mother requires daily dialysis. We thank everyone for their words of compassion, prayer, and support. May the Almighty assist us to heal the ills of our country," Sooliman said.

African News Agency/ANA