In yet another mass shooting in Khayelitsha, three people were brutally gunned down in Site C on Saturday night.
The shooting on the corner of Nyebelele and Ntango streets, follows a string of shootings in the area, two of which happened in March.
The first took place in the early morning of Monday March 14 when four men and one woman were shot dead in New Monwabisi Park. This was followed by another massacre less than a week later – on Sunday March 20 – when six young people were killed in Enkanini.
On Sunday May 8, another six people died in a shooting in Site C.
Two weeks later three members of the same family died in Ekuphumleni in Khayelitsha when armed men stormed their house just after 8pm on Sunday May 22. Police say they fired several shots, killing two men and a woman.
In Saturday’s incident, the victims, aged 34, 36 and 50 were shot dead around 8.30pm, and in unrelated incidents, two people in their 30s were killed in Makhaza and Harare.
And when provincial police commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile and MEC for Community Safety and Police Oversight Regan Allen, were on their way to visit the crime scenes on Sunday afternoon, they were confronted with scenes of mob justice in which a 27-year-old man had been stripped naked, his hands tied with wire, and his body badly beaten.
He had been accused of stealing a battery from a taxi but was rescued by police officers and taken to Khayelitsha Hospital.
Lieutenant-General Pathekile said while the motive for the shooting had not yet been established, from their experience with similar cases, it was likely to be related to extortion, drugs, gang turf, or taxi violence.
He added that while SAPS’ relationship with the community could be improved, they had made a number of arrests as a result of tip-offs from the community.
However, he said, load shedding was currently making the job of SAPS more difficult.
“Load shedding does make our job quite difficult because some areas do not have street lights and you can only see where you are working and at times we are struggling even if there are lights. And criminals know when the lights are going off.
“Around this area there were about nine vehicles that were patrolling on Saturday. I believe that the relationship between us and the community needs to be improved.
“I mean now we just bumped into community mob justice and the community did not even give us blankets to cover him,” he said.
Lieutenant-General Pathekile said it was critical that the community got together to fight crime constructively, and emphasised that rather than taking the law into their own hands, residents should report crime and criminals to SAPS.
Mr Regan said the killings had left the community shocked and angry and that they were working towards making Khayelitsha a safe community.
“I must say that the recent killings in Khayelitsha show how brazen criminals are. We have (been informed) in our briefings that there was enough manpower, resources during the incident.
“Since March this year, we have received (information) that there have 30 plus killings which occurred during mass shootings,” he said.
Khayelitsha Development Forum chairperson, Ndithini Tyhido, said the were really disturbed by the brazenness of some of those involved in the mass shootings.
He said it was a problem when, in some parts of the country, there are police in senior management positions who are accused of working with criminals.