News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

Ward councillors absent from anti-gang meetings

Khayelitsha residents continue to try find ways of stopping violence among teenage gangs which apparently resulted in two deaths over the weekend, but residents say ward councillors and police are not assisting them.

About 100 residents from Khayelitsha’s Harare and Kuyasa areas met at Esangweni High School on Sunday afternoon to discuss the violence that the Community Policing Forum said claimed two teenager’s lives on the weekend, while another was fighting for his life after being attacked with a panga.

But while Harare is in Ward 98 and Kuyasa in Ward 95, neither ward councillor was present at the meeting called by the Ward 98 Development Forum and attended by volunteer security patrol members, concerned parents, residents, and members of the Mandontsela (MDC) gang who claimed they wanted the fighting to come to an end.

Ward Development Forum chair Denny Sukwana said it seemed ward councillors were not supporting the fight against teenage gang violence.

Sukwana said Ward 98 councillor Anele Gabuza was supposed to have been present at the meeting, as were police representatives.

A resident at the meeting stressed that councillors needed to work together with the community and volunteer security patrols to end the violence, as had been happening in Khayelitsha’s Makhaza area.

But contacted for comment, Gabuza, said he received no invitation to Sunday’s meeting.

“I always raise the issue of gangsterism and crime at any public meeting. I’m aware of teenage gangs, every weekend there are fights, children are being killed. I’m always available to assist,” said Gabuza.

Meanwhile, acting Sanco chair in Khayelitsha’s Site B YAB informal settlement, Mkhuseli Njengele, said attempts to get hold of their Ward 92 councillor, Monde Mabandla, were unsuccessful.

“He always promises to attend our meetings but he has never pitched. Even two weeks back we called him regarding these gang fights, he promised to come but he never did. He’s aware of gang fights but never worked with us on solving the problem. As a ward councillor he has resources to help us, he needs to be here to help us,” said Njengele.

Njengele said the violence had got so bad that some parents in YAB had decided to send their children back to the Eastern Cape for their schooling.

But ward 92 councillor Monde Mabandla said he was not aware of gang fights among school children.

“Each an every street has Sanco leaders. I always have meetings with them (but) the issue of teenage gangs was never raised. I’m not aware of it,” said Mabandla.

Last week the Western Cape Provincial African National Congress sent out a statement calling for action to be taken to stem violence among gangs of teenagers.

Yesterday provincial ANC secretary Songezo Mjongile said the ANC would work with the affected communities and seek solutions to “the problem of our children acting in this disorderly manner”.

Harare Community Police Forum PRO Nolizwi Ngcaza said three attacks involving teenage gangs had been reported over the weekend, resulting in two deaths and one person being hospitalised.

Ngcaza said the number of incidents appeared to be increasing day by day.  – Nombulelo Damba

Tags: Anele Gabuza, Community Policing Forum, Denny Sukwana, Esangweni High School, Harare, Khayelitsha, kuyasa, Mandontsela (MDC) gang, Mkhuseli Njengele, Monde Mabandla, Nolizwi Ngcaza, Sanco, Songezo Mjongile, Ward 95, Ward 98, Ward 98 Development Forum, Western Cape Provincial African National Congress

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