Two killed in youth gang-related incidents

A group of boys walk around the streets of Langa where youth gang -related incidents is becoming rife.

Langa residents say they are being terrorised by gangs, with claims that gang violence claimed the lives of four young people during December.

Police, however, only confirmed two deaths.

Concerned residents say there has been a spike in violent crimes in some parts of the area, with ward councillor Nomtha Dilima agreeing that gangsterism in Langa had become a problem.

She said despite the efforts of residents, youth gangs continued to plague the area. “It is a mixture of young people from different areas. One cannot say it is Zone boys fighting with Joe Slovo or Hostels. It is a mixed masala kind of a thing. It has caught us by surprise,” she said.

“All we know is that it started with them hurling stones at each other, and ended with stabbings and shootings.”

However, she is adamant that residents will fight gangsterism to the bitter end.

Ms Dilima said out of concern and love for their area, residents had decided to fight the scourge and had started patrols in affected areas.

One resident, who asked not to be identified for fear of intimidation, said he was terrified because his child belonged to a gang. “I try to avoid such topics because I suspect that my own child is part of it. When I questioned him and his friends, they distanced themselves, but the truth is, they are part of it. People are talking about them too,” he said. “Langa is such a small area to experience this. We ought to fight it with what we can.”

In a letter to Vukani, Thabo Matiso raised some serious concerns about the spread of gang violence in the area. He attributed the violence to a high number of school drop-outs and urged the community to take action to stop the problem. Police spokeswoman Captain Nondumiso Paul said street gangs might be connected to one of the reported deaths but could not link

the other confirmed death to gang activity. She, however, confirmed that gang fights were escalating in the area, and called on residents to work with police to root out the problem.

“I can confirm that two people died in December. One is 17 years old and the other is 29. The 17-year-old was stabbed 12 times and shot. He later died in hospital while the other was stabbed seven times,” she said.

The 17-year- old’s death was confirmed as gang-related one. Captain Paul said no arrests had been made for either incident.

She urged residents to come forward and report crime but cautioned people against taking the law into their own hands.

“We ask for their assistance in 2017. People should start trusting police to do their work.

“We cannot condone violence and lawlessness. We urge them to contact us whenever they suspect something,” she said.

To report crime, call 021 695 8000 or 086 00 10111.