Police call on witnesses to Parkwood murders

Ghareez Brenner, 31
Riedewaan Barron, 40

The tragic murders of two men who were shot in Parkwood while celebrating Eid last Wednesday are raising fears in the community of a possible “retaliation”.

Residents and community leaders have been pleading with the authorities to rid their community of gangsterism and drugs by bringing perpetrators to book.

However, Colonel Dawood Laing, of Grassy Park SAPS, said (on Monday July 26), that a man was arrested on Saturday, but if no witnesses come forward to make a statement to link him to the murders, the man will be released after the mandatory 48 hours the police can hold him without charging him with a crime.

Colonel Laing also confirmed two suspects had been arrested the day after the shootings, on Thursday July 22, and they too were released ”after 48 hours due to no statement to link them to the murders and attempted murders.”

Colonel Laing said: “We need the community to do their part and work with the police (to bring perpetrators to book).”

Panic swept through Parkwood when two men, Ghareez Brenner, 31 and Riedewaan Barron, 40, were shot in Parkwood on Wednesday July 21, and five were injured, while they had been celebrating Eid (a religious Muslim celebration) at 9pm.

Pastor Paul Phillips, a community leader of Parkwood, said: “Another sad day for the Parkwood community.

“A day (Eid) when families and friends should celebrate their faith and religious beliefs in the Islamic community. Sadly we lost two innocent youth. Another senseless and cruel incident of crime that is ever escalating in the most vulnerable communities.

“Crime and gangsterism is an evil that robs our youth, seniors, children and citizens of our freedom to associate, live in peace and go about our daily lives like a normal society. I sincerely trust that the perpetrators will be brought to book soon.”

After a meeting with the community leaders on the day of Mr Brenner and Mr Barron’s janazaas, on Friday July 24, Pastor Phillips said the community is concerned and predicting “retaliation”.

“And the community’s boiling pot is about to cook over, in dealing with the matter themselves. As to what we’ve seen in the other provinces recently, poverty, unemployment, lack of basic service delivery are all at play here, it’s a situation we’ve been reporting, brought to the attention of the relevant authorities with little or no positive outcomes – especially on the social conditions side.”

Councillor William Akim, who attended the janazaas of Mr Brenner and Mr Barron, said he is very saddened by these senseless killings. “The guys were well-known in the area; they didn’t belong to any gangs. I want to convey my deepest sympathy to the families.

“Also, gang shootings is a challenge in Ward 66 and together we as the community must report to SAPS any information to bring the offenders to book,” said Mr Akim.

Melvin Jonkers, chairperson of the Grassy Park Community Police Forum (CPF), said: “The CPF condemns any form of gangsterism and shooting in the Parkwood area. We cannot condone this. We call upon the Parkwood community to stand against this and say ‘no’ to gangsterism and drugs.”

The CPF, with the SAPS, SAPS youth desk, neighbourhood watches and the community of Parkwood, repainted gang graffiti, slogans and insignia in Parkwood on Sunday July 18, as part of their 67 minutes for Mandela Day (“Parkwood untagged for Mandela Day”, Southern Mail, July 21).

If you have any information about the murders, contact Grassy Park SAPS at 021 700 3900.