Police minister Bheki Cele deploys soldiers in Cape Town following mass killings

by Siviwe Zibi

It was a bloody weekend in Lower Cross with 13 people gunned down in separate incidents. Six women aged between 18 and 26 were killed in Marcus Garvey on Friday night, the lifeless bodies of three men were found in a house while the other two men were shot in Thandi’s tavern. Two other unrelated murders were also reported in the area over the weekend bringing the total number of deaths to 13. The motives behind the killings are still unknown and the officials are still investigating.

The residents of Lower Crossroad demanded that Minister of Police Bheki Cele deploy more police in the area because they fear for their lives, they said the police have failed them so many times.

On Monday Bheki Cele had a meeting with the community members of Philippi East to listen to their grievances after that he went to visit the families of those who lost their loved ones. He made a commitment to the residents that he will come back with a plan and they are not losing the war on crime.

On Thursday evening while he was presenting his budget vote speech in parliament he announced that SA National Defence Force (SANDF) will be deployed in Western Cape’s worst affected crime areas. The Minister said SANDF will work together with the police for three months.

About 16 years ago I used to live in the notorious Lower Crossroad; people were being murdered and dying like flies. When I heard about recent mass killings I was astonished that even after a decade nothing has changed in Philippi East. I’ve seen people being murdered in a separate incident, the killings were gang-related. Police were trying to curb the crime but it was getting out of hand. There were notorious gangsters that the members of the community were afraid of them.

Cape Town is no longer a place that a lot of people dream of visiting because of the killings. People are afraid, the communities are afraid, everyone is afraid. when does it all end?

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