The Sunday Tribune has been reliably informed that gangsters from the Cape Flats have been recruited to take out a rival drug operation.
Caught in the middle were powerless residents and a police force that was ill equipped to handle the issue. Over the past week, videos have emerged revealing shoot-outs in the hub of Sydenham Heights, at the intersection between Rippon and Clare Roads.
On Thursday afternoon Butcher Road residents, in Sydenham Heights, had to duck for cover in the midst of another drive-by shooting.
Ward 31 Councillor, Chris Pappas, said the Cape Town dealers had been called into the drug trade fight since December. The daily gunbattles have led to residents refusing to speak on the record.
A visit to the flats, where the Cape Town dealers were suspected to have set up shop, revealed drug users revelling in public.
At a neighbouring building, a gun shop was tucked away next to a liquor store.
“Sydenham is going to see a bloodbath,” said a resident, who lives in a block of flats where 28-year-old Haven Bhima was killed in July.
The police source said Bhima’s murder was a revenge attack after a Cape Town dealer was killed in December.
“Every day, even Sundays after church, we hear gunshots. If we say anything, they will target us. I’m only at peace when my sons come home,” said the resident.
The dealers have roped in kids to be on the lookout for cop cars, and sell straws filled with tik.
“Ghost Jump is what the children shout when they see a police van coming. Some children bunk school and pretend like they’re playing around in the flats, but you can hear the money packets jingling with change in their pockets as they run around,” she said.
Last week police arrested 22-year-old Lance Lee Olsen, a suspected dealer from Cape Town who was found in possession of cocaine.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele said his case was being heard at the Durban Magistrate’s Court.
Residents said police had not done enough.
Said Pappas: “There have been widespread allegations of the police being corrupt and complicit.”
The province’s task team dedicated to drug-related crimes was under-resourced, according to a police source.
At a recent meeting with community stakeholders, Pappas said commitments had been made by SAPS to respond to the issue.
“A dedicated hotline will be set up for residents to call in and give information. Policing is only one part of the situation. We need the community to come forward with information. As part of addressing the problem we face we must change the police officers at the Sydenham stations,” he said.