GDF calls on justice system to play part in fight against crime

Gugulethu Development Forum (GDF) has called on the justice system not to fail the residents of Gugulethu after two men arrested in connection with a deadly shooting on New Year’s Day at NY137 were released.

According to provincial SAPS spokesperson, Brigadier Novela Potelwa, the victims were in a vehicle about to drop off someone when they were approached by another vehicle from which shots were fired.

Three men in the first vehicle were killed and one more person died in hospital due to the injuries he had sustained.

She said detectives arrested two suspects aged 26 and 36 on Wednesday January 3.

Brigadier Potelwa said the suspects were meant to appear on charges of murder at the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on Friday but were released from custody just before they were due in court due to technicalities pointed out by the senior state prosecutor.

But she said that warrants for the arrests of the two suspects had been issued.

Brigadier Potelwa said another suspect, Bongani Philips, 36, had handed himself over to police last Saturday after provincial serious and violent crime detectives tightened the net around him.

Brigadier Potelwa said Mr Philips made his first court appearance in the Athlone Magistrate’s Court on charges of murder on Monday January 8 and will remain in custody until his next appearance on Monday January 15.

MEC of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Reagen Allen, said they note the statement that a third suspect had handed himself over to police and they cautiously welcome this as a full report into due process was not followed with the first two suspects still outstanding.

He said the manner in which the matter had been handled leaves him with a bitter taste in his mouth.

“It is important that the outstanding suspects are immediately re-arrested, while the necessary steps are instituted where it might be required.

“SAPS should be a service that acts in a professional manner at all times,” he said.

GDF secretary Vincent Domingo believes that Gugulethu has been targeted by underworld gangs who incite violence over territory.

He said as much as they welcome the fact that someone had been arrested, he fears that in the next few months they will be out and the state will cite a lack of evidence.

He called on the justice system to play their part in the effort to eradicate crime.

He said it makes no sense when police arrest a suspect only to find the person has other murder cases under their name.

He said extortion related crimes were very high in Gugulethu and small businesses were under threat.

He said people are afraid to report crime because they might be killed.