Cape Town - One person was shot dead and six others wounded in Elsies River on Wednesday night, allegedly by gang members intent on marking territory and sending a deadly message to their rivals.
Last night concrete fencing in 12 Avenue, Leonsdale, behind which a 27-year-old woman had been trying to take cover, was peppered with bullet holes. Her covered body lay near the fence.
It was believed she was the latest victim of a gang war raging between the Terrible Gang and the Bad Boys in the Elsies River area. Police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said the wounded included three men and three women aged between 18 and 25 years old. Eyewitnesses said the group of seven were walking each other home when two gangsters - allegedly from the Terrible Gang - opened fire on them.
The victims, they said, were not gang members. Residents said the gang members previously warned residents not to walk down that particular street after two young men were gunned down there earlier this month. Community Policing Forum (CPF) spokesman Steve Ross said the incident was a drive-by shooting and the victims were not involved in any gang activity.
“They were innocently just walking in the street from the shop when they were shot at. One of the gangs identified them as a target,” he said. Police are investigating cases of murder and attempted murder. “The possibility of the incident being gang related is also under investigation.
No one has been arrested at this stage,” said Rwexana. Ross said gang violence in the area had flared up in recent weeks. “On the scale of one to 10 - 10 being the worst - the situation here is on 12. In Leonsdale, the violence is particularly bad.”
He said there had been at least 10 deaths in the past month or so. “To combat further deaths, we are increasing visibility. We have also entered a chat group so that we can interact with police and let them know when things are happening so that they respond faster.”
Ross said gangs seemed to “enjoy it” when the media reported on incidents of gang violence. ”Even their funerals are being covered by the media, which encourages kids to aspire to gang violence. “There is nothing else that highlights their life and they want that spotlight - and that concerns me.
When others read about them - they want to be respected and feared,” said Ross. Anyone with information that can assist with the investigation is requested to contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.