Whether they play inside the house or outside in the streets, children of the Cape Flats aren’t safe.
This follows the rapid increase in gang violence since the beginning of the year which has already seen two young kids falling victim to stray bullets.
In the latest incident, a seven-year-old boy from Manenberg was shot in the face on Saturday, April 3.
A report by the Daily Voice said that doctors have not been able to remove the bullet lodged in Riaz Cloete’s head because of the swelling.
She reportedly lost her eye and had to undergo various surgeries.
Cape Flats activist, Roegshanda Pascoe told Cape Town ETC that the reality of the matter is that you can get shot at anytime.
“Your house is not your house anymore, it’s not a private space. In Manenberg it’s safer to sit on the floor than in your own home,” Pascoe said.
Just like all the other mothers, Pascoe went through the same trauma when her daughter was shot through her leg in 2013.
Pascoe says in an area like Manenberg it has become the norm for mothers to sit daily on the side of the road, acting as “lookouts” incase gang violence flares up.
“On Saturday, I was notified that things were going crazy because of a gang allegedly fighting each other,” Pascoe said.
When asked if Albert Fritz, Minister for Community Safety, could assist with the heavy gang tensions at the Cape Flats, Pascoe said:
“He can if he wants to, he should not push politics but the thing with the MEC is that they are controlled by the political part.”
Meanwhile, Pascoe urges the City of Cape Town to empower people on the ground and those in the communities because she believes the the City is well resourced.
The question thus becomes, should Fritz be doing more or are his duties limited to politics?
However, the MEC has responded in a statement saying that he is appalled by the number of young people who have been struck by stray bullets in communities including Hanover Park and Manenberg.
Fritz said it is unacceptable that people in the Cape Flats, particularly young people, are constantly being subjected to such acts of terrorism where simply playing outside can result in injury and even death.
“As a provincial government, we are hard at work implementing numerous initiatives aimed at putting an end to this and to restore calm to our communities.”
He added that through the Western Cape Safety Plan, the Western Cape Government and City of Cape Town’s have deployed approximately 500 Law Enforcement Advancement Plan (LEAP) officers to Delft, Nyanga, Khayelithsa, Philippi and Bishop Lavis.
“The contingent was redeployed in October 2020 to mitigate the impact of gang related crime and we further deployed officers to Mitchell’s Plain. By the end of the year (2021), we will deploy additional LEAP to Gugulethu, Mfuleni, Harare and Kraaifontein,”Fritz said.
With the additional Law Enforcement officials deployed to the gang invested Cape Flats, is this enough? And what more can be done?
Picture: Cape Town ETC gallery
Picture: Cape Town Etc gallery