MEC tries to calm gang violence in wine district
Petru Saal And Farren Collins | 2017-04-03 12:10:12.0
Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato. File Photo.
Image by: Shelley Christians
Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato will visit Avian Park in Worcester on Monday‚ to restore calm to the rural neighbourhood in the Western Cape.
Plato will lead an extensive safety outreach programme after residents took matters into their own hands and drove gangsters – the Junior Cisko Yakkies (JCY) – from their neighbourhood.
Five residents were killed in the violence that ensued in the clashes.
Five more residents were shot and nine homes were completely destroyed.
After years of kangaroo courts and protection money demanded by gangs‚ the community reached its tipping point when a resident was shot dead‚ allegedly by a JCY member‚ last month.
A man who said he was a reformed gangster told the Sunday Times he feared not only the community but members of the gang.
“If you’re an ex-gang member and you’re working‚ the gang now wants to recruit you back … If you don’t come back‚ then they give you a burger patty — they shoot you twice in the head to make sure you’re dead‚” he said.
The man said the community was fed up with drugs and violence.
“The JCYs have their own court there. If you rob someone‚ you get a hiding. Someone beats you with soap like they do in prison. The community started getting tired because some people were just being hacked for no reason.”
The community enlisted the help of the Uitbuiters and the Snakebites — made up of mostly young boys — to assist them in the war against the JCYs.
Two weeks ago police stopped Plato from entering Avian Park as the situation was so volatile that his safety could not be guaranteed.
Representatives from the Breede Valley Municipality‚ the South African Police Service‚ several Western Cape departments‚ including social development‚ and NGOs‚ will join Plato.
Plato hopes to build relationships between the community and the police through the promotion of safety entities‚ such as neighbourhood watches and walking bus initiatives.