Communities attempt to shut down Cape Flats to protest gang violence

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, residents gathered in at least four communities in Cape Town in a united protest against gang violence.

In Kensington and Bonteheuwel, riot police outnumbered small groups of residents who peacefully held placards decrying the spate of gang violence that has claimed lives in these neighbourhoods.

READ MORE: Cosatu threatens W. Cape shut down if province fails to deal with gangsterism

Even as around 20 protestors gathered in Voortrekker Road in Kensington, word of mouth spread that live rounds had allegedly been fired by gangsters inside the area as the picket was underway.

One resident, Shameeg Abrahams*, said he had informed public order police about the alleged gunshots, but the police had allegedly responded that their unit is not responsible for acting on such information.

“I’ve been looking for you. Don’t you know the gangsters are killing us,” Abrahams said.

Rolling mass protests have swept through areas of the Cape Flats after Kensington and Factreton — an adjacent community — blocked Voortrekker Road to reclaim their streets from gangsters in August.

READ MORE: Standing up for Bonteheuwel: ‘We did it in 1976, and we will do it now’

Bonteheuwel followed suit at the end of August, shutting down all entrances and exits to the area after six people were killed in suspected gang-related violence in just 48 hours.

The shutdown on Tuesday is expected to see more Cape Flats residents blockading major arterial roads during peak morning traffic. Bonteheuwel residents however, struggled to blockade their roads after they were outnumbered by riot police.

In Kensington, residents became emotional as they hoarsely implored police to do more visible policing. They are angry that at least 40 police officers had responded to monitor the protest, despite a seeming lack of action from police when gang violence erupts.

“You have failed us,” a resident shouted at the police.

Protest action is also currently underway in Ottery and Hanover Park. 

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.
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