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Surge in mass shootings in Cape Town – At least 26 people killed in four weeks

Surge in mass shootings in Cape Town – At least 26 people killed in four weeks
A general view of tape blocking off a crime scene in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

In just two hours, security detection technology recorded 177 shots being fired in 58 shooting incidents in various communities. Over the past weekend, three people were gunned down in Nyanga and four people in Manenberg.

Bodies continue to pile up as mass shootings in Cape Town reach new levels this month. 

In just four weeks, there have been at least 26 people shot dead in mass shootings in the Mother City, according to information compiled by Daily Maverick, based on reported incidents.

The latest shooting was on Sunday afternoon in Nyanga where three men were gunned down in what is believed by police to be linked to extortion or possibly a retaliation attack. 

“The three yet-to-be-identified victims were ambushed by their killers at around 16:00 in Ntlangano Crescent and killed on the scene,” said police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut.

“One of the victims was found inside his white Toyota Avanza, one next to the vehicle and one in a tailoring business operating from a container in the street.” 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Police increase presence in Gugulethu after two officers slain in weekend of bloodshed

Over the weekend, many Manenberg residents were trapped inside their homes as members of the Americans, Clever Kids and Hard Livings gang opened fire against each other following a gang conflict in the area. 

Four people were killed during the ordeal and four others were injured. The shootings happened a day after the launch of the nationwide Safer Festive Season Operations in the province. 

ShotSpotter working overtime

Mayoral committee member for Safety and Security JP Smith said within just two hours, ShotSpotter gunfire detection technology recorded 177 shots being fired in 58 shooting incidents in various communities across the Cape Flats.

On Saturday, the system picked up 144 shooting incidents that occurred across four Shotspotter areas Nyanga, Manenberg, Hanover Park and Lavenderhill. 

In August, there were 842 shooting incidents spotted. 

The City has installed gunshot detection targeting specific gang violence hotspots in consultation with the SAPS. This follows a successful pilot programme running in gang-ridden Hanover Park and Manenberg for just over three years. 

The technology identifies the sound of gunfire, giving law enforcement authorities the ability to immediately pinpoint territorial battles erupting between rival gangs.

ShotSpotter, mass shootings

44 shooting incidents were picked up by the ShotSpotter system in the areas Nyanga, Manenberg, Hanover Park and Lavenderhill. (Graphic: Supplied)

The numbers represent the number of shots fired at one time in a particular area. Previously, the violent flare-ups would only become known to SAPS once the body count began rising. However, now the City is able to gain strategic information in real-time to share with police, enabling authorities to concentrate resources on stabilising an area a lot faster.

“Who is supporting and financing the gangs and their battles for increased territory? Where are they obtaining an almost endless supply of firearms and ammunition?” asked Smith. 

“Before we rolled out this technology, our SAPS had no definite or certain statistics to confirm exactly how grave the situation really was. Now we have the documented evidence.” 

Mass shootings

The spate of mass shootings began in Gugulethu on 25 September when five people were killed while sitting inside two cars that evening. Prominent Cape Town lawyer Mbeko Venfolo, director of Venfolo Attorneys, was one of the victims. 

Five days later, also in Gugulethu, four men and a woman were shot dead. Police deputy minister Cassel Mathale’s close protector was among the five people who were shot and killed. 

Read more in Daily Maverick: Weekend of bloodshed sees protection officer killed in mass shooting and policewoman found murdered

Reports at the disposal of police indicate that the victims were sitting inside two vehicles when another vehicle with armed men emerged and shots were fired between the occupants of the two vehicles. Five men between the ages of 46 and 52 were subsequently killed.

On 3 October, three men were shot and killed inside their vehicle in Mfuleni. Police reported that six armed men approached the three victims aged 29, 30 and 44 at around 3 pm while they were sitting in their vehicle at Fountain Heads in New Beginnings, Mfuleni and opened fire, killing all three on the scene. 

On 8 and 9 October, six people were killed in two triple murders that occurred a day apart in Heinz Park. Two suspects were taken into custody by Serious and Violent Crime Unit detectives for the first triple murder Heinz Park. 

Residents caught in endless violence

Gugulethu community policing forum (CPF) spokesperson, Linda Kabeni, said that the community was under siege from criminals.

“We are calling on the police to do everything they can to protect innocent citizens that become victims of these shootings.” 

MEC for Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen said the levels of killings, including the Nyanga triple murder require an immediate shift in how policing is conducted.  

“Between the gang and extortion killings, SAPS has to get its ducks in a row and utilise its intelligence more effectively to prevent these continued murders from happening,” he said. 

“I have written to SAPS’ Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Thembisile Patekile to amongst others enquire how the current murderous situation will be addressed and how the violence will be turned around. Greater visibility, impeccable tactics and a squeeze on all these heartless criminals are among the immediate interventions that should be implemented.” DM

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  • ilike homophones says:

    well, at least these gangsters appear to be sharp-shooters …. …. …. …. as they find their targets successfully … …. ….. not killing innocent bystanders with bad shooting … .. …

  • jerry maycock says:

    Surely it’s past the time to reintroduce Capital Punishment, not a de rigor death penalty but the provision of it being available if the nature of the murder or serious assault warrants it.
    There is NO deterrent in the SA legal system to reduce violent crimes whether by illegal weapons or other means.
    Until there is a suitable penalty, and that means the availability of the Death Penalty the situation will just get worse and worse. Either that or arm every citizen so self protection is available

    • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

      Capital punishment law of unintended consequence….

      More people die as shooters kill to make sure no one is able to report them as killers.

  • Change is good sa says:

    Police intelligence needs to up their game. Why is this happening and who is funding it, via the supply of guns and ammunition.
    Young men are being used by syndicate bosses as cannon fodder. It is time for communities to change their parenting and the Education department needs to start urgent training in schools around gang violence, drugs and what a young persons life could be like, if they changed their view on the world around them. The citizens are all sick and tired of criminal bully power crazy, lazy men disrupting what should be our human right to a decent life. Come on Cape Town communities, you can do it.

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