S.Africa: 94 murders in 3 days — Western Cape war zone killings exceed European country’s annual fatal shoot ings


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[This is probably mostly coloureds (mixed race) in gang fights. This doesn't affect Whites. Jan]

Shootings have increased in the Western Cape. The police have acknowledged the surge in violence and are trying to tackle it. But the number of people being killed remains alarmingly and tragically high.

Thirty-three people were murdered — most of them either stabbed or shot — in the Western Cape from around 5am on 31 March to roughly the same time the next day.

And over about 72 hours, between 29 March and 1 April, 94 people were killed in the province.

This means that on average, one person was murdered every hour in the Western Cape over two days, with two people being killed nearly every hour on the third day.

The number of murders is an increase from earlier this year when between 24 and 25 February, 12 people were killed.

Daily Maverick has established that statistics, compiled within the South African Police Service (SAPS) and which have not been officially released, show this.

It is understood that among those murdered was: someone who others had accused of crime, someone who tried to intervene in a fight and several individuals whose lifeless bodies, penetrated by bullets or blades, were found by cops.

On Friday, 5 April 2024, Western Cape police spokesperson Colonel Andrè Traut could not confirm the statistics.

Official statistics embargo
“Crime statistics are not disclosed ahead of the official quarterly release by the Police Minister,” he told Daily Maverick.

“It is on this basis that the figures cited in your enquiry cannot be confirmed.”

Traut, in response to Daily Maverick asking what was being done to address bloodshed, referenced two previous statements the Western Cape police issued about how they were trying to “bring an end to the violence in the province”.

While the Western Cape is known as South Africa’s gangsterism capital due to related violence, we should still be alarmed.

Very alarmed.

Residents have, over the past few weeks, described to Daily Maverick how living in violent hotspots is like living in the middle of a war.

Annual fatal shootings
When looking at what is happening through a global lens, the Western Cape crime statistics that have not yet been officially released still stand out.

It is a situation of compare (not to detract from what is happening elsewhere) and despair.

For example, at the end of 2022, Reuters reported that during that year a record 60 people were fatally shot in Sweden, where gang violence has also become a major problem.

The Guardian last year reported that 11 people were killed there in September making it “the worst month for shooting deaths in Sweden since records began in 2016”.

This means that the Western Cape, a province within South Africa, recorded more murders over three days this year than the number of shooting killings in Sweden, a whole country, experienced in 2022.

Over 24 hours, the province also recorded three times as many murders as the number of shooting deaths recorded in Sweden in September last year.

According to Statistics South Africa, the Western Cape had a population of about 7.4-million, while the Swedish government said its country’s population stood at more than 10.5-million.

Warzones
In terms of the Russia-Ukraine war, a United Nations Security Council briefing on the situation in Ukraine said that 28 people were reportedly killed there on 3 February when a building housing a bakery was shelled.

According to the statistics that have not yet been officially released, the number of people murdered in the Western Cape in 24 hours at the end of March — 33 — therefore basically equates to the number of civilians killed in a shelling in a warzone.

As for the Israel-Gaza war, Al Jazeera reported in February: “At least 107 Palestinians were killed… between Monday and Tuesday, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.”

That is while, based on the unreleased statistics, 94 people were murdered in the Western Cape over three days leading to the start of this month.

The surge in overt violence in the province is not totally new or unacknowledged.

Recurring violence
It is not unusual to read news headed along the lines of “three killed, one wounded in gang hotspot” or “alleged gang boss gunned down in suspected hit”.

Worse still is when children are caught up in gang crossfire.

It happens. We know it. Many of our lives go on.

(Imperceptible trauma, affecting those directly and indirectly impacted by gangsterism and gun violence, also goes on.)

In February this year, Police Minister Bheki Cele released South Africa’s third quarter crime statistics, covering the period from 1 October to 31 December 2023.

He said four out of five police stations in the country, deemed among the top in terms of murders reported, were in the Western Cape.

Cele, who started out his speech saying it “takes place at a time when the tide is turning against crime,” also dropped something of a bomb when referencing gangsterism and the province.

250 gang murders
“It is… concerning that of the 268 gang-related murders, 250 of these murders were reported in the Western Cape,” he said.

This means an outright majority of gang killings happened in the province.

The SAPS has been grappling with the problem.

On 18 March the Western Cape’s police also announced that they had increased operations to try and clamp down on violence, which had surged.

“In light of recent shooting incidents that occurred on some parts of the Cape Flats, Western Cape police have bolstered deployments at identified hotspots,” a statement said.

“The additional deployments in the form of members from the Anti-Gang Unit, Tactical Response Teams, Operation Lockdown II, Operation Restore and Public Order Police have descended on identified locations on the Cape Flats…

“The intervention follows incidents where murder and attempted murders cases registered, indicate a spike in shooting incidents that saw a significant number of individuals shot in Mitchells Plain, Bishop Lavis, Philippi, Ravensmead and Elsie’s River.”

On 4 April 2024, police seized a semi-automatic weapon and ammunition from a suspect following a shooting in Bishop Lavis.

And in one of the latest murders likely to spark further friction among gangsters, suspected Americans gang boss Mogamat Sadeka Madatt (sometimes spelt Moegamat Sadaka Madatt) was shot in the Kapteinsklip informal settlement in Mitchells Plain on 1 April.

It was believed members of the rival Fancy Boys gang targeted him.

Residents in Mitchells Plain told Daily Maverick they feared retaliatory attacks and shootouts between the Americans and the Fancy Boys gang.

Politics
Based on what Western Cape police stated last month, violence is still concentrated in historic gang hotspots.

Many of those areas, known as the Cape Flats, are where non-white residents were forced to live under the apartheid regime.

But Daily Maverick has previously reported on how organised crime stretches out much further than those suburbs.

It may just not be as noticeable in other areas.

Crimes, like money laundering and certain types of corruption, are not as overt.

The recent violence across the Western Cape, particularly around Cape Town, comes ahead of the elections at the end of May.

Crime and related statistics provide fuel that can fire up politicians who either make bold statements about how they can tackle the crisis or criticise the opposition about how they are failing to do so.

Cape Town has a deep history of overlaps between crime, politics and policing.

The City of Cape Town is DA-run and has a metro police service, while the ANC heads the national government and therefore the SAPS, the overall authority responsible for law enforcement in the country.

Cop collusion
But the reputation of the SAPS often takes beatings.

Infighting has rocked it.

In the Western Cape, in 2022, a high court judge also found that evidence in a gangsterism case suggested 28s gangsters had infiltrated the province’s police.

There are other problems.

Recently, Daily Maverick reported on how 15 firearms linked to the Mitchells Plain police station — in the suburb which cops have flagged in terms of a surge in violence and where Madatt was murdered — could not be accounted for.

It was not the first time there was a scandal involving missing guns and the station.

Western Cape police firearm seizure conducted by SAPS. (Photo: SAPS)

Policing powers
Meanwhile, it is clear the DA wants more policing powers in the Western Cape.

In a statement in February, referencing issues including the Mitchell’s Plain police firearms fiasco, Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis called for the devolution of policing powers.

“All of these mounting and unacceptable failures only underscore why the devolution of policing powers to the Western Cape Government and the City of Cape Town is more urgent and necessary than ever,” he said.

“The ANC is unable to run the police in the Western Cape, and evidence thereof is piling up almost daily.

“Policing needs to be run by a competent government to ensure that people are safe.”

In November last year, DA leader John Steenhuisen also spoke about the issue.

He said: “While ANC cadres rob citizens blind in other provinces, in this province, we do not tolerate cadre deployment or corruption…

“Every life lost on the Cape Flats is a tragedy for all of us, and strengthens the DA’s resolve to wipe out criminality.”

But like the ANC, the DA under the umbrella of the City of Cape Town is not squeaky clean of criminal suspicions.

City suspicions
Last month Daily Maverick reported how Reynold Talmakkies, a Safety and Security Directorate officer in the City of Cape Town, was facing mounting accusations including criminal charges.

He retired on the same day a disciplinary hearing was set to commence against him.

Then there is the issue of the City of Cape Town’s human settlements department.

It has become entangled in suspicions relating to collusion between officials and crime suspects.

City Manager Lungelo Mbandazayo previously told IOL some human settlements officials had been suspended while others faced disciplinaries.

He said officials had been “tailor-making tenders before they went out so those same companies could easily apply and be granted those tenders”.

Organised crime investigations
In March last year, Malusi Booi was fired from the post of mayoral committee member for human settlements after his City of Cape Town office was raided during a fraud and corruption investigation.

The name of alleged 28s gang boss Ralph Stanfield cropped up in that investigation.

Last year the City, which was doing business with Stanfield’s wife Nicole Johnson, blacklisted seven companies linked to her.

In January the City also confirmed it dismissed its public housing director, Siphokazi September.

While it did not say why, Daily Maverick understands that when police wanted to search Booi’s office, they had also flagged hers.

Dead ends
And so, suspicions relating to collusion snake into both the City and the SAPS, which are involved in trying to quell organised crime in a province where the scourge has become an ominous trademark.

In February, Hill-Lewis, speaking about policing failures, said: “You cannot live a life of dignity and prosperity if you live in constant fear”.

The reality on the ground, though, in the Western Cape, is that many people are not even getting to live.

Scrape away politics, policing issues and the many reasons fuelling violence in the province.

The fact remains that 94 lives were violently ended in just three days. DM

Source: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2024-04-05-94-murders-in-3-days-western-cape-warzone-killings-exceed-european-countrys-annual-fatal-shootings/?utm_source=Sailthru



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