Parkwood at breaking point

LILLIAN AMOS

Parkwood has said enough is enough after another innocent victim was killed in the ongoing gang war between rival gangs, the Junky Funky Kids and the Americans.

Jayden Smith, 10, was shot dead on Tuesday January 26.

Over the past few months, the community has held various marches, faith walks and walkabouts in the area to try to combat gangsterism and other social ills.

On Wednesday January 27, NGO Voice of Parkwood (VOP) held a walkabout with stakeholders and community leaders.

The group also visited Jayden’s family.

Jayden was walking home after buying bread from the corner shop, at about 8pm, when he was cuaght in a clash between Junky Funky and American gangsters. As Jayden opened the gate, the men ran into the home and started shooting at each other. Jayden was shot in the back.

Jayden’s father, Joseph Boltman, was shot in the arm and a 21-year old man, believed to be a Junky Funky member, was shot in the arm and buttocks.

The group of VOP members and dozens of residents met at the murder scene and prayed for the family.

Jayden’s mother, Chantel Boltman, was inconsolable as she explained what happened.

“These men came in shooting randomly not caring who was in the way.

“My one-year-old was in the lounge with my husband and my youngest could have so easily been shot as well.”

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“The gangsters must stop this please because innocent children are dying. How could they do that? My child didn’t do anything wrong,” said the weeping mother.

She recalls how Jayden died in her arms on the way to hospital.

“He still spoke to me and he was looking for one of his friends. Then he told me he can’t anymore. After that he was gone. He always made us laugh and he was an wonderful child. I’m going to miss him so much,” she said.

Parkwood resident Chevonne Cornelius said lives don’t seem to matter anymore.

“This boy was innocent and these thugs came into his home and shot up the place. These gangsters have no remorse. They have no feelings for the people of Parkwood. They shoot at each other without thinking,” said Ms Cornelius.

“It’s unfair and irresponsible. They deserve to rot in jail until the end of time or have the same done to them, but one day is one day and they will have to pay for all their sins. The Lord does not let these things go unseen, whether you’re Christian or Muslim, you will burn in hell,” she said.

Another resident, Suri Claasen said she lives in fear.

“I fear for my children every day. It’s not a nice feeling to live like this. Our children are in danger because of the doings of these gangsters. There are shootings in our road every day here in Abdullah Walk. Something needs to be done. It is becoming too out of hand,” said Ms Claasen.

Ward 66 councillor Melanie Arendse said a change will be difficult if people of Parkwood don’t stand together.

“These gangsters are the minority but there are people who actually support them because they give them money, buy them food and flat screen TVs. When we walk in here we get opposition from some of the community. Parents protect their gangster children. People must stop covering up for these criminals,” said Ms Arendse.

Pastor Paul Phillips, chairperson of the VOP, also called for an end to the violence.

“People are at their breaking point. They want to take justice into their own hands. We ask the community of Parkwood to stand together with police, organisations and stakeholders to make the community safer. We also ask stakeholders to work more in Parkowood, not only to eradicate gangsterism but all other social ills and problems, said Mr Phillips.

Grassy Park CPF chairperson, Philip Bam said guns need to be taken off the streets.

“The gang trade must be broken, and with that the drug trade will be broken because the two go hand in hand. We must disarm these criminals because they have very little regard for life, said Mr Bam.

“Firstly the community has to come forward and secondly, there has to be more vigorous enforcement by police. The community needs to speak up because this cannot continue,” he said.

Grassy Park police spokesperson Warrant Officer Wynita Kleinsmith said two men, aged 18 and 24, were arrested in connection with the murder and appeared in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Friday January 29.

The community flocked to the court on Friday morning to oppose the bail application of the two suspects.

Pastor Phillips said: “We made a call for people to support us with a picket demonstration to let the court know that murders are not welcome and allowed in our communities.”

On Saturday February 6, a protest titled Gangstersim Must Fall will be held in Manenberg.

Thousands will gather to spread awareness around the issue of gang wars affecting communities around the Cape daily.

The march will start at the Manenberg police station from 10am.

For more information visit the #Gangs Must Fall Facebook page.