Update: 4 arrests after Philippi shootings left 11 dead

Four people have been arrested in the Marikana informal settlement in Cape Town following the murder of 11 people at the weekend, Western Cape police said on Monday.

The arrests took place during an overnight police operation in the area, spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa said in a statement.

“Members of the stabilisation unit following up on information apprehended two suspects aged 39 and 41 and confiscated a firearm as well as rounds of ammunition.”

The pair was arrested in Lower Crossroads and would appear in court soon on charges of possession of unlicensed firearm and ammunition.

The firearm has been sent for ballistic testing to determine if it has been used in the commission of a crime, Potelwa said.

In a separate operation in the area, a man was arrested for being in possession of a panga.

He will be charged for being in possession of a dangerous weapon.

A fourth man was found in possession of drugs.

Potelwa said police would continue to maintain a strong presence in area.

A special team of police detectives on Sunday continued with their investigation into the mass shooting of 11 people in Philippi, Cape Town.


Western Cape police spokesperson FC van Wyk told News24 that there were no new developments to report concerning arrests for the shootings on Friday night.

“Currently, it is very calm in [the] Marikana [informal settlement]. Our members are still in the area monitoring the situation.”

The area had seen mass bloodshed in the last week. It was understood that community leaders had raised their concerns about crime in the area in at least two meetings with police commanders in September.


On Friday night, officers responded to scenes at the Marikana informal settlement where four people were shot dead inside a tavern, three inside a shack nearby, one outside the shack and two others were found lying dead between the shacks in the area.

One later died in hospital.

Around 300 residents stormed the Philippi East police station on Saturday afternoon, demanding that action be taken.

They speculated that the latest killings could have been in revenge for a mass shooting earlier this week, believed to be vigilante killings, or could perhaps be gang-related.

On Tuesday night, seven people were killed in the Nyanga cluster, under which Philippi falls.

According to a source, who was not authorised to speak to the media, five of the victims were stoned and stabbed to death at three of the crime scenes in Philippi East.

Balaclavas

The source said there were allegations that a group of people wearing balaclavas had fetched the victims from their homes.

It is understood that four victims had been identified, while a man found in Symphony Way has not been identified yet.

Asked about the injuries and circumstances of these killings, Van Wyk replied at the time that the extensive investigation was at a sensitive stage.

He confirmed on Sunday that no arrests had yet been made for these cases either.

Before the mass shooting on Friday, residents had pleaded for Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to intervene, amid a heightened level of fear about crime, and a breakdown in trust between residents and police.

According to handwritten minutes seen by News24, two stakeholder meetings took place with police, one on September 14 and also last Thursday.

Officials were apparently told that the murders took place at night, when not enough patrol vehicles and officers were visible, according to residents.

Residents have been requested not to take the law into their own hands and attack criminals.

The minutes made reference to 28 murders allegedly committed in the Philippi ward in September alone, which could only be verified when the next crime statistics were released.

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Jenna Etheridge
Jenna Etheridge
Journalist, writer and editor
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