CAN suspends feeding due to gang violence

The Greater Retreat Community Action Network (CAN) Covid-19 feeding scheme suspended its cooking and services in the community over the weekend after violence erupted in Lavender Hill on Friday June 5.

Colonel Jan Alexander said a 41-year-old man was shot in his face and back at Dover Court, in Lavender Hill, around 9am.

The man died in hospital later that day.

Colonel Alexander said no arrests have been made and the motive for the attack is believed to be gang related.

He also confirmed that another shooting took place later that day, at 12.10pm, in St Brandon, Montague Village. A man was shot twice in his right arm.

“He alleged that he was in the street when a white VW Golf with six unknown occupants drove past. They started shooting at him and he ran for cover. No arrests were made.

“The particulars of the suspects are unknown. The motive is believed to be gang related,” said Colonel Alexander.

When Pastor Malcolm Campbell, chairperson of the CAN, heard about the sporadic shootings, he immediately told his team in the group chat to put down their utensils.

“I’d like everyone to cease and desist from serving any food in the greater Lavender Hill area. We need to send a message to the community that we as organisations will not be exposed to this kind of violence with no repercussions. We need to ensure the community exposes these boys who are shooting up the community, causing upheaval.

“This is going to impact on the lives of the most destitute and people have to decide where their loyalties lie, with the gangs or with their children who need to eat. We are ready to serve food, but only in an environment where people’s lives and especially the children’s lives are not placed at risk of injury or death.”

Pastor Francois Isaacs, of House of Judah Church, in Lavender Hill, also a member of the CAN group, found himself in harm’s way on Friday.

He was on his way to the Seawinds clinic to collect equipment for the church, when he heard the gunshots.

“I was still sitting in the car when I heard a ‘boof’ sound and the people were shouting and running inside the clinic, while also shouting that I must get out of my car as the bullets might hit me.

“However, the bullet came into my radiator on the driver side while I was in the car.”

Further up the road from Seawinds clinic, Erica Jacobs, director of New World Foundation (NWF), said they had heard the shooting just behind the NWF building shortly after 9am.

“There wasn’t much else to do than to make sure we were all safe. So, staff just called those who hadn’t reported for duty to stay home, not walk in or near the area.

“We also called the police and informed the Greater Retreat CAN,” she said.

Pastor Campbell said on Monday June 8, that the cooking and serving had continued and that they would monitor the situation on the ground.

“I’d also like us to continue looking at better serving options to reduce overall movement of the children and ensure we mitigate the risk factors due to the gang violence.”

Anyone with information about the shootings can contact the investigating officer, Detective Sergeant Xhanti Neti, on 021 702 9000.