POLITICS

News24.com | Mitchells Plain residents give Bheki Cele a frosty welcome: ‘The government is five days late’

Bheki Cele visits Mitchells Plain after recent shootings.

Bheki Cele visits Mitchells Plain after recent shootings.

  • Police Minister Bheki Cele visited Mitchells Plain after a number of shootings in the area. 
  • Some residents accused him of political grandstanding.
  • Parents fear for their children’s lives.

Police Minister Bheki Cele received an abrupt welcome from residents of Beacon Valley in Mitchells Plain on Tuesday.

The people accused the minister of political grandstanding. Cele’s visit comes after a number of shootings in the area.

Residents tried to speak to Cele about a concrete plan to deal with the scourge of violence in communities in the Cape Metro.

Resident Kevin Abrahams told News24 that parents feared for their children’s lives.

“We expected the minister to come. None of the children, who witnessed this shooting, received any counselling. It’s too late for the minister to come and visit our community. What do they take our community for?

“A few weeks ago, four children died in Nyanga in a sinkhole. Everyone visited the community, even the president,” he said.

Abrahams said the police needs to be beefed up.

READ | Safety forum decries ‘urban terror’ after six shot dead in three days in Mitchells Plain

“We see every day what is happening in this community. We live under these conditions. We want them to allocate proper spaces for our children. The government is five days late,” he said.

Community activist Sulyman Stellenboom, of Bread not Bullets, said he was disappointed with Cele’s visit.

“He treats Mitchells Plain as a catwalk. Our children are being shot at and these ministers do not have a plan. Our youth are dying like flies. I have no respect for Cele.”

Answers

Stellenboom’s son died years ago and he has not received any answers from the government.

The area has seen two mass shootings in the space of two days.

Ten people were shot and six died. Five teenagers were shot during a drive-by shooting in Beacon Valley on Thursday, of which two died.

On Saturday, five men were shot, four were killed.

Police have increased visibility and 50 municipal law enforcement officers have been deployed.

READ MORE | More law enforcement officers deployed in Mitchells Plain following spate of shootings

Juliana Petersen’s son was among the five teens shot at on Thursday. He was shot in the foot and managed to escape, she said.

Petersen told News24 her son fears for his life.

“I was sitting at my neighbour’s, having tea. I heard the first gunshot and ran out. I was unaware that it would be one of my sons or his friends. Then I saw everyone standing outside and I started running. I saw him [son] and he said he was shot in his foot,” she said.

Petersen said the shooting was not gang-related.

“These are boys that are in school, they are not gangsters. I am angry because, in those few hours, there were no police patrolling… I hope they do something about it,” she said.

Cele said he is open to engage with residents.

“I have said before, this issue cannot be resolved by ourselves. I am prepared to come back to sit with the community because the plan comes from all of us.

“We need more of us to come together, it’s not only a policing issue.”

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