The Mitchell’s Plain community is still grappling with the recent murder of a young girl at a school in Beacon Valley. Residents and anti-crime activists met outside Ieglaasi Primary School on Wednesday, to mourn her death, and call for further action to be taken.
Since the incident on Tuesday, police have apprehended a 27-year-old man. The police’s Joseph Swartbooi says the suspect is due in court on Friday, on a charge of murder.
“Around the clock investigative work by the investigating officer attached to Anti-Gang Unit, led to the arrest of a 27-year-old male [on Wednesday] in Eastridge, Mitchell’s Plain.”
While that arrest was being made, Beacon Valley residents were highlighting their grievances. Principle among them is rampant gun violence, lack of police or law enforcement visibility and minimal action taken against criminals.
The Cape Flats Safety Forum (CFSF) reiterated its call for the Mitchell’s Plain police station to be put under administration, at Wednesday’s protest. This has been among their demands to police, after weapons from the station supposedly went missing last year.
READ MORE: Mitchell’s Plain police under fire
The forum’s Lynn Phillips says one of those missing weapons, could have been the one that claimed the life of the young girl in Beacon Valley.
“We just had a protest last week at the police station, where we made reference to the fact that guns are roaming our streets, blood is flowing in our streets, and here an innocent life has been taken. I want the National Commissioner to answer me, I want to know [if] the gun that shot this child, is this part of the guns that went missing between Mitchell’s Plain and ballistics.”
Mitchell’s Plain, police and law enforcement
A shared sentiment among protestors was their distrust in police. The CFSF says residents no longer trust police because of incidents like the weapons that have gone missing, as well as the supposed lack of visibility of law enforcement agencies, at times when crime is running rampant.
The forum’s chairperson, Abie Isaacs, says this is when parts of the community start to work together – instead of with police – to take action against alleged perpetrators. This was after a group of residents were heard chanting “we want PAGAD” [PAGAD – People Against Gangsterism and Drugs].
“The emergence of PAGAD, or other formations, is clearly because people are starting to lose respect… and trust in our [law enforcement] agencies.”
The Mitchell’s Plain Community Forum (CPF), however, suggest that residents should not have to resort to vigilantism – instead they should report the criminals that live among them. The forum’s Jasmine Harris says the community is to blame for incidents like these continuing.
“We, the community, are to blamed at large – because what are we doing about it? We allow these people to do these things. It’s like a norm. And this should never ever happen in our society.”