Shootings in Khayelitsha have become the norm, say residents

Fear. Anxiety. Hopelessness. These emotions describe life in Khayelitsha, the biggest township in Cape Town.

Mass shootings have gripped the township and seem to have become the norm.

Earlier this week six people were shot dead in the informal settlement of Enkanini.

This shooting comes shortly after five people in the nearby informal settlement of Endlovini were gunned down.

Bulelwa Dyantyi, a resident in the area, said it no longer comes as a shock when gruesome crimes take place in the area. Gunshots have become “our way of life”.

“It is scary because you never know if you are safe because anyone can just come and start shooting where you are, and our children are the most vulnerable,” said Dyantyi.

She said what was surprising was to see women killed in the most recent shootings.

Another resident, Khaya Tyatyeka, said he did not know where all these guns came from.

“Every person seems to be owning a gun because you hear gunshots all the time and I would like to know where these guns come from,” said Tyatyeka.

He felt not enough was being done to rid the community of guns because some even carry them around during the daytime as if it was legal to do so.

Khayelitsha community policing forum cluster chairperson Francina Lukas said the area has been classified as a crime hotspot.

She said there were different factors that contributed to this scourge, such as socio-economic problems like unemployment.

Lukas said the fact that police stations in the community were under-resourced was also not helping in the fight against crime.

“Another thing that has been a high contributor to deaths is extortion, which is organised crime. They fight about territory, who extorts where which ends up in such killings.

“There are also too many illegal firearms in circulation. The question is where do they [the firearms] come from?”

Police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa, referring to the Enkanini incident, said after being alerted to the shooting, police arrived and found the bodies of the five victims strewn across two scenes about 200m apart, with a sixth person dying on arrival at a medical facility.

She said the victims were two women and four men, estimated to be between the ages of 22 and 27.

Potelwa said reports from the scene indicated that three unknown gunmen had randomly fired shots at the victims.

She added that the police had opened murder cases, which were now being investigated by detectives from the organised crime division.


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