Lavender Hill gang war leaves many hungry

In a video, a group of men run as shots are fired on the infamous battlefield in Blode Street, Lavender Hill.

A gang war in Lavender Hill has the community gripped in fear following the shooting of two men on Friday.

According to police, the situation in Lavender Hill is tense and they cautioned businesses and others who want to enter the area to liaise with police and other law enforcement agencies beforehand.

No arrests have yet been made after two separate incidents on Friday October 13 where at about 9.30am a 25-year-old man was shot and killed at Dover Court in Mirbey Road and 10 minutes later shots were heard and the community discovered the body of a 33-year-old man with gunshot wounds to his chest in Blode Street.

Steenberg station commander Colonel Hannes Nel said preliminary information suggests that the 25-year-old man was walking in the street when four suspects approached him and opened fire. “He ran away but was chased down by the suspects who fired several shots at him. He succumbed to head wounds on the scene.”

Over the weekend there were sporadic shootings and on Monday morning, several shots were fired on the field again.

The recent shooting of two alleged gang members in retaliation to a previous shooting is believed to be the reason for the latest spike in gang violence in Lavender Hill.

Organisations and feeding schemes have had to stop their activities in fear that the gang violence could lead to innocent victims getting caught in the crossfire.

In a video seen by Southern Mail, a group of men can be seen firing shots at each other at the Blode Street field known as the battlefield.

Community leader Mark Nicholson, who lives adjacent to the field, said the recent shootings sparked what looks to be an all out gang war between rival gangs and brazen gangsters who shoot at each other in broad daylight.

“It is very sad what’s happening in Lavender Hill at the moment because there are two gangs fighting each other and there is another gang trying to infiltrate into the area. People are in fear and don’t want to go out of their homes because the shootings are happening at all hours,” said Mr Nicholson.

The Lavender Hill Sports and Recreation Centre run by Mr Nicholson had to call on Law Enforcement to be present at the infamous field to feed about 300 children on Sunday October 15.

“We had to make a way to feed the children because they are terrified, sitting in their houses hungry because they have nothing to eat at home. They are in lockdown in their own homes so we had to quickly dish them a meal and they went back to their houses again. It is very sad what these gangs are doing to our community and our children but we are trying our best to still continue providing a meal regardless of the situation because so many children depend on that one meal.”

Mr Nicholson encouraged other organisations to help support them to feed as many people as possible with the help of law enforcement agencies.

Gavin Walbrugh, chairperson of the Steenberg Community Police Forum (CPF), urged the community to be vigilant amid the recent violence.

“The CPF expresses deep concern in light of recent shooting incidents within our community. The executive urges residents to stay vigilant, report any suspicious activities and to collaborate with law enforcement to ensure the safety of our neighbourhoods.”

Mr Walbrugh added that the CPF acknowledges the deployment of police and external forces to enhance visibility in the affected areas. “This collaboration aims to address the current challenges and maintain a secure environment for all residents.”

Mr Nicholson also appealed to residents of Lavender Hill to work towards making the area safer.

“Stop hiding these people with their guns and their drugs and start standing up for our community, especially for the children and the elderly. These gangs are ruthless and are not bothered which could lead to innocent people being shot.”

He also appealed to the gangsters to think of how the shootings impact the community. “My message to the gangsters is to please stop all of this and try to sort this thing out. We need peace in our area because our people are suffering.”

Colonel Nel confirmed that the situation is intense in Lavender Hill and that there were more shootings reported on Monday morning but no one was injured. He added that members are deployed in the area as well as external deployments who are monitoring the situation on the ground.

“The current violence is between rival groups and we are on the ground but we cannot divulge operational issues and plans but we are trying to deal with the situation with the help of other external deployments.”

Anyone with information can contact the Steenberg SAPS or Crime Stop at 08600 10111.