The Sweet Home community is mourning the death of two security guards who were shot last Sunday, November 10, as they began their evening shift.
The guards were meant to be protecting the Sweet Home Incremental Development Area (IDA) in Philippi from thieves and vandals who have been targeting the contractor’s equipment.
When the Vukani visited the area on Friday November 16, community members were still demanding the speedy arrest of those who killed the two guards.
Community leader and the chairman of the local committee Siyamboleka James said the loss of the two guards is a blow to the community and its development. He said the entire area was devastated and accused those who are behind the killings of being power hungry.
“I suspect people who are jealous of this development. There has been concern about the development. Some of our so called leaders are not happy with this development even though it benefits us all. There has been questions of who came up with it. People need tenders. That is our main challenge,” he told Vukani.
He called on the community to report the killers. He said the shooting took place early in the evening when people were still walking the streets. “It cannot be true that no one saw the assailants. We should not make crime a normal thing but something that we need to fight together. There is always gunshots here and that is treated as normal which it is a bad thing. When I heard the gunshots I thought it is just one of those normal days and yet people were dying,” he said.
The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral committee member for informal settlements, water and waste services; and energy, Xanthea Limberg said the city was stunned and saddened by the killings. She said the guards worked for the third consecutive security company hired to protect the site.
Ms Limberg said the two previous security companies were unwilling to continue working in the area due to criminals violently targeting the development.
“The City has also attempted to employ people from the surrounding community. However, they also resigned due to fears for their safety,” she said.
In a statement, Ms Limberg said despite every effort being made to ensure that this development would improve the lives of residents, the City has now been forced to suspend construction as workers are too fearful to continue with the project.
“It is unforgivable that a project that can do so much good in a community where it is so sorely needed is being targeted like this.”
She extended condolences to the families, friends and co-workers of the guards.