Residents are hoping that last week’s arrest of a notorious gang member will bring to an end the weeks of tension and gang violence in Parkwood.
The community, along with organisations Rise Up and G-Force, a specialised unit of PAGAD (People Against Gangsterism and Drugs), took part in three placard demonstrations in two weeks to try and bring an end to the violence.
The last march was held on Sunday June 27 with the support of Grassy Park police.
Abduragiem Adams, co-founder of Parkwood organisation Rise Up and member of the Grassy Park police youth desk crime prevention unit said the community had asked for help following the recent shootings in the area.
“Children couldn’t play outside and people felt unsafe because of the shooting that had taken place and the situation was tense. The community decided to protest and we supported them and will continue to support them with marches, our programmes and whichever way we can.
“We will make it clear that violence is not the answer, especially when innocent people are suffering,” said Mr Adams.
A G-Force representative Yasien Fataar said their members supported the peaceful Parkwood marches because the situation had reached breaking point.
“Our sole purpose was to back the marchers in a peaceful manner. The sole mandate was for the children of Parkwood to raise their voices because they have had enough of the ongoing issues. We cannot be complacent anymore, the people of the area are asking to stop the shooting and to stop killing innocent people,” he said.
Willow Walk street watch chairperson Achmat Gassiem said over the past few weeks they had felt in danger because in one evening last week they had heard more than 40 shots being fired.
“It is very sad to see our community suffer like this. We try our best as the street watch and do what we can but I am only one man walking with seven women. We need more people to come on board and for the community to stand with us and help bring peace in the community”.
Mother of three Shameemah Davids, one of the women who conducts night patrols with the street watch said gang activity had become unbearable at times: “We are held hostage by the minority. We need the gang violence to end and for peace in Parkwood. Before we could walk freely, now we worry about being shot and killed. Everyone deserves to live in a peaceful society without violence.”
Grassy Park police spokesperson Captain Wynita Kleinsmith said the area should be more peaceful following tension between the Americans gangster Merin “Ta Mils” Japhta and the Six Bob gang.
The suspect was assaulted and stabbed by rival gang members and he then retaliated, said Captain Kleinsmith. He allegedly shot and killed a 24-year-old Six Bob gang member and police had been on the lookout for the suspect for weeks. As a result of the man-hunt for the suspect by the rival gang, bystander Anthony Griebelaar was shot on Saturday June 19. He died the following day.
“The shootings in the area stemmed from this so we needed to arrest Ta Mils,” said Captain Kleinsmith.
After a tip-off from residents, police apprehended the suspect at Edna Court on Thursday but there was pushback from some residents who had been hiding the fugitive for weeks and police vans were vandalised.
“The community must work with police rather than against them to catch criminals and murderers, That is the only way we will have peace in the area,” said Mr Gassiem.
Captain Kleismith advised residents to call the station on 021 7003940 to report any gang or criminal activity. All information will be treated as highly confidential.