Killings spark outcry in Khayelitsha

Police Minister Bheki Cele addresses the community of New Monwabisi Park following another mass shooting.

Khayelitsha residents are reeling in shock following two brutal mass shootings which claimed the lives of 11 people in a week.

On Monday March 14, four men and a woman were killed in New Monwabisi Park informal settlement.

Just days after Police Minister Bheki Cele’s visit to the informal settlement in Endlovini, another six people – among them two women – were killed in Enkanini on Sunday March 20. Police say three gunmen opened fire on their victims.

When he visited the area in response to the first shooting, Mr Cele said police officers were pulling out all the stops to track down those behind the shooting, describing the killers as heartless human beings with “total disregard” for other people’s lives.

Asked how effective SAPS’ 72-hour activation plan was, Mr Cele stood by the strategy, which was aimed at increasing response times to crime – and at full force.

“We are looking at three people at the moment,” he said.

Mr Cele added that: “A total of 26 corrupt cops have been arrested since the beginning of the year. We cannot run away from the fact that we have corrupt cops. I feel pain when a cop is arrested … that damages the police’s reputation.”

To bring stability to the area, he said, they would deploy a special unit to the area and were also in a process of finalising a new team which would move around to different police stations in the province.

He said if criminals were aggressive towards police, police would respond with similar aggression.

Community leader, Sinethemba Mthini, said while killings were nothing new in their community, they were shocked that two mass shootings had taken place – within a short space of time. He also claimed that their community was becoming a dumping ground for dead bodies and stolen cars.

Community leader, Sinethemba Mthini, said their community is living in fear.

He said there had also been recent incidents of people armed with guns knocking on people’s doors at night and robbing them.

“”We are not safe at all and it seems like it is by the grace of God that we make it to the next day here,” he said.

Ward councillor, Lonwabo Mqina, called on Mr Cele to deploy more boots on the ground to make it more difficult for criminals to commit crime.

Khayelitsha Development forum chairperson, Ndithini Tyhido, said they were pleased that Mr Cele had come to address residents and hoped that his visit would result in positive change for the community.