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GUNS TO GANGS

Violence-torn community in Cape Town campaigns for a society without guns

Violence-torn community in Cape Town campaigns for a society without guns
Members of the Cape Flats Safety Forum protested against guns outside Mitchells Plain police station in Cape Town on 21 March 2023. The safety forum is embarking on this action to stand in solidarity with every family that has lost children to gun violence. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

The prevalence of firearms has long violated the human rights of residents in gang-infested areas on the outskirts of Cape Town. Innocent people, particularly children, continue dying at the hands of ruthless gangsters, says Abie Isaacs, chairperson of the Cape Flats Safety Forum.

On Human Rights Day, the Cape Flats Safety Forum held a gathering in front of the Mitchells Plain police station to remember those who had died in gun violence.

Since its founding in 2014, the forum has been lobbying for a society free of guns.

“For the last 72 hours, we observed community formations, particularly neighbourhood watches, going out to look for tyres that protesters might use to block roads in Monday’s shutdown. The army, police and other law enforcement agencies were deployed to prevent violence from erupting during the EFF’s shutdown.

cape flats gangs guns

Abie Isaacs (chairperson of the Cape Flats Safety Forum) outside Mitchells Plain police station on 21 March 2023 (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

“Why can’t the same measures be applied to stem the flow of illegal guns into the hands of gangsters who are killing innocent people?”

A memorandum containing their demands was handed to police management.

The Forum highlighted how, in August 2017, 15 firearms went missing from Mitchells Plain police station. Isaacs said the guns must have been stolen. One of the firearms had, to their knowledge, been recovered in Manenberg.

Christiaan Prinsloo

Also raised was the issue of the many firearms that disgraced former cop Christiaan Prinsloo had sold to gangs. Major-General Peter Jacobs, former provincial head of Crime Intelligence, said: “This should have necessitated the increased allocation of resources to recover the firearms and prevent further killings. The SAPS elected to do the opposite… 1,060 murders were committed with these weapons between 2010 and 2014. This figure will grow exponentially unless the firearms are recovered.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: Class action pending: Families of those shot with cop-smuggled firearms to take on police

A gun-smuggling investigation – codenamed Project Impi – led to Christiaan Prinsloo’s arrest and subsequent conviction seven years ago. He was sentenced to 18 years in jail.

Gun Free South Africa has instituted class action proceedings in this case, in which damages will be sought from the Minister of Police.

Horrific memories

cape flats gangs guns

Mymoena Abrahams, whose son Moenier was killed on 31 March 2019 in Lost City, protests against guns outside Mitchells Plain police station in Cape Town on 21 March 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

Among the mothers at Tuesday’s event who spoke to Daily Maverick was Mymoema Abrahams, 61, from Lost City in Mitchells Plain. Her 34-year-old son, Moenier, was shot and killed on 31 March 2019 while sitting in their lounge. A man suspected to be a gang member fired eight shots through the front door.

Sitting on the steps outside the police station, Abrahams recalled the horrific events of that day.

“The gangsters were shooting outside my home. Moenier was sitting in the lounge waiting for a film to start at 8.30pm. I stayed on a corner opposite a park and one of the gangs thought the other gang had run into our house.

“I was sleeping and woke up when I heard shots. The first shot went through his head, but when he dived and turned around to save me, he was shot in the chest and stomach. His last words were, ‘mommy, look after my children’.”

Abrahams retired last year, but is now looking for a job so that she can support her son’s four children.

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Isabel Louw met Monray when he was 10 years old. He started sleeping over at her place because he didn’t want to go home. With his parents unable to support him, she decided to adopt the boy.

Monray passed matric five years ago and went on to study motor mechanics. He began working in 2021, and in February 2022, Isabel told him it was time to go back to his biological mother to help her financially. He moved back in with his mother and two months later he was killed.

“Imagine how I felt. He wasn’t a gangster but… he was seen as a gangster. He was shot and killed inside his car while sitting with his girlfriend in Tafelsig.”

Eleanor Manuels, 65, told Daily Maverick her son Darryl was shot dead on 16 May 2014 by a gang in Eastridge.

cape flats gangs guns

Eleanor Manuels, whose son Darryl was killed on 16 May 2014, protests against guns outside Mitchells Plain police station (Photo: Gallo Images / Brenton Geach)

The Cape Flats Safety Forum’s demands include:

  1. A dedicated police team to deal with gangs, guns and drugs.
  2. A special unit to be set up that deals with gun violence. Team members must be properly vetted and lifestyle audits conducted.
  3. Investigate cold cases linked to gun violence.
  4. Investigate the 15 guns stolen from Mitchells Plain police station.
  5. Sector policing to be activated as per legislation and SAPS policy.

The Forum has given Western Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile seven days to respond to their demands. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • David Forbes says:

    Lt Gen Pakatile won’t respond. The killings will go on, because cops are involved. They don’t care about people any longer.

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