Cafda youth in dire need of protection

Y oung people in Cafda are pleading for help from the ward councillor as the gang violence continues to rage in the area.

The group, with some as young as 19 and who do not want to be named as they feared they might be targeted, said they were trapped in a crime-ridden area and were tired of their friends and family being sent to an “early grave due to gangsterism”.

In one of the most tragic incidents, Tashwill Junior (TJ) Nel, who was just one year and nine months old, was shot in a drive-by shooting while sitting on his uncle’s lap in a parked car in Komlossy Street on Sunday July 8 (“Gang war leads to tragic end for toddler”, Southern Mail, July 11).

The youths initiated the call for help and met ward councillor Shannen Rossouw on Friday July

They said one of their aims was to eliminate the stigma that all young people were gangsters. Although they are dressed in baggy jeans and hoodies that does not mean they are gangsters, they said.

They also wanted to highlight that people were living in fear.

They said they felt as if nobody could be trusted and their identity was not protected by the authorities such as Law Enforcement and Steenberg SAPS.

The community have been experiencing shootings every day and the hot spots included the area outside three corner shops.

Ms Rossouw said although her mandate was not to address crime, she would be assisting in the safety of the community and would therefore be spending money on more CCTV cameras.

Ms Rossouw said: “First of all, I am glad the youths are getting together which was supposed to have happened a long time ago. I can provide cameras and also training for youths to man the operational control room. We will be using neighbourhood watches to spearhead the camera initiative in Cafda and Lavender Hill.”

The youths are planning to have a silent protest march to Steenberg SAPS next week but the date still has to be confirmed.

They said they were busy drawing up a memorandum addressed to the City as well as SAPS and some of the demands include greater visibility of authorities, and a meeting with Colonel Jan Alexander, station commander of Steenberg police, to strengthen communication.

See story on page 5