Maverick Citizen

Cape Town’s Season of Fear

Gugulethu massacre: Gang sends out grim video message warning of more carnage

Gugulethu massacre: Gang sends out grim video message warning of more carnage
Police cordon off the area where the Gugulethu shootings took place as relatives and the community watch. Eight people where shot and killed at a house in NY78. (Photo: Fanie Jason)

The Gugulethu killings on Monday 2 November 2020 are a taste of what is to come, the feared Boko Haram gang has warned in a video message that has been widely circulated to communities on the Cape Flats.

Eight people between the ages of 30 and 40 died when two gunmen entered a house in NY78, Gugulethu, on Monday night and fired indiscriminately at the occupants. 

The perpetrators fled the scene in a waiting getaway car. It’s believed the crime was premeditated.

In the clip, the gang warns that this is a taste of things to come in the lead-up to the festive season.

Police have remained tight-lipped at the start of the investigation into the shootings.

Residents of Gugulethu, Khayelitsha, Crossroads, Nyanga and Browns Farm say the massacre is likely to be linked to the Boko Haram gang’s attempt to extort money from shebeens, spazas and other businesses. 

The Guptas gang is also allegedly part of this budding criminal network, but to a lesser extent.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Gugulethu businessman said: “The Boko Haram gang are behind the spate of hijackings, murders, extorting money from property owners, cash-in-transit heists and demanding protection money.

“They are in control of the drugs, guns and everything that is illegal in the townships. This gang caused mayhem in most of the informal settlements in Cape Town and they have also spread their wings to George.”

The businessman says the gang was formed four years ago and community appeals for assistance – including from Police Minister Bheki Cele – have gone unheeded.

People in Cape Town’s townships were afraid of the Boko Haram gang, he said, with only taxi associations brave enough to stand up to them. However, elements in the taxi industry could be just as brutal, he said, and would not hesitate to retaliate.

“Residents in townships are so scared that many are contemplating relocating to a safer place. The Somalians, Nigerians and Chinese business people are at the mercy of these thugs. It is a case of ‘pay up or you get killed’. I’m afraid the streets of townships are going to be strewn with bodies,” the businessman said.

Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said the provincial organised crime unit was investigating the massacre.

Meanwhile, communities in gang-ravaged parts of the Cape Flats concur that the violence that erupted in Gugulethu is likely to spill over into Manenberg, Heideveld, Hanover Park, Lavender Hill, Elsies River, Valhalla Park, Bishop Lavis, Belhar and Mitchells Plain. 

There are fears of violence over the festive season.

“The Covid-19 regulations have robbed several drug and gang kingpins of millions of rands. They were unable to transport their drug shipments and used corrupt police officers to be the transporters,” said an anonymous resident.

With relaxed regulations, an all-out drug turf war in all gang-ravaged areas is feared.

“The unfortunate victims are going to be innocent children and individuals. Drug merchants need to make this up before Christmas when buyers run out of cash,” the community member said.

Byron de Villiers from the Lentegeur Community Policing Forum (CPF) said: “Last year this time around we had seven murders per day and in two weeks 27 people were killed. This time of year it’s an open market for alleged drug kingpins. 

“They target vulnerable people who are willing to do anything. We know the onslaught is coming, but when and the exact time the bullets are going to fly, we cannot say.”

Hanover Park’s CPF spokesperson Ebrahim Abrahams said the trend of violence occurs every year, in all gang-infested areas. The planning, he said, is done inside prison walls, where the 28s, 26s and other gangs plot who needs to be taken out.

“We have noticed every time when a person is released from prison problems seem to follow him and that person brings the heat along with him. Turf wars and violent clashes in areas are driven by drug merchants greedy to make more and more money.

“[In] the past week, six people have already been killed in Hanover Park and our greatest fear is that this number could be double figures during the festive season,” Abrahams said.

Meanwhile, in Manenberg, two people have been shot and killed and a woman returning from church suffered a severe asthma attack from the shock of the violence. She died at the scene.

Gershwin Arendse, 19, was shot and killed in Manenberg. (Photo supplied)

One of the gunshot victims was 19-year-old Gershwin Arendse, who was sleeping in his Wendy house when a bullet struck him in the head on Monday night. 

He matriculated from the Mary Harding School for children with intellectual disabilities in Belgravia in 2019.

Manenberg activist Roegchanda Pascoe said: “The situation in Manenberg is very volatile and especially for our children. It is recruitment time and learners are forced to join either the Hard Livings (HLs), Americans, Fancy Boys or Jesters Kids. Learners who refuse will be taken out.

“On Tuesday [27 October 2020] panic-stricken parents had to duck and dive while they went to fetch their children after school, with rival gangs showing no mercy.”

With Manenberg labelled as a red zone for ambulances as emergency vehicles which cannot enter without police protection, Pascoe warned that the lives of women giving birth at home, the sick and elderly were in danger. 

It’s not because ambulance drivers don’t want to enter gang-infested areas, but flying bullets keep them out, she concluded. DM/MC


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    Yip, gangster state. With police corruption as manic as it is, little hope of change.

  • Philip Mirkin says:

    This is devastatingly sad. How is it possible that the rule of law and order has collapsed so totally that ordinary peoples live are run by gangsters. If normal methods can’t solve this then surely more drastic measures should be taken. What do the good people of those communities suggest is needed? And please, privileged people who want “something nice” for the holidays, stop yourself and think of the community destruction that you are funding.

Please peer review 3 community comments before your comment can be posted


This article is free to read.

Sign up for free or sign in to continue reading.

Unlike our competitors, we don’t force you to pay to read the news but we do need your email address to make your experience better.

Nearly there! Create a password to finish signing up with us:

Please enter your password or get a sign in link if you’ve forgotten

Open Sesame! Thanks for signing up.

Make your taxes work for you

Donate to Daily Maverick’s non-profit arm, the Scorpio Investigative Unit, by 29 February 2024 and you’ll qualify for a tax break.

We issue Section 18A tax certificates for all donations made to Daily Maverick. These can be presented to SARS for tax relief.

Make your donation today

Support Daily Maverick→
Payment options

Become a Maverick Insider

This could have been a paywall

On another site this would have been a paywall. Maverick Insider keeps our content free for all.

Become an Insider
Otsile Nkadimeng - photo by Thom Pierce

A new community Actionist every week.

Meet the South Africans making a difference. Get Maverick Citizen in your inbox.