Cape Town – “I hope that we don’t get used to these incidents here on the Cape Flats.”
This was the sentiment shared by Police Minister Bheki Cele on Thursday morning when he visited the scene of the recent Cape Town mass shooting. He was accompanied by Western Cape police commissioner Thembekile Patekile.
Nine people were shot outside a house in Gugulethu NY 79 on Wednesday evening by unknown suspects who drove by in two vehicles.
Eight people died and one person was wounded in the incident.
The shocking massacre occurred in the same area as the November Gugulethu mass shooting last year, where seven people three women and four men were shot and killed by unknown gunmen.
Speaking outside the family home where the shooting occurred, after briefly meeting the family, Cele said that the police already had a few leads they were following up on that possibly related to the shooting.
“Last week I was here trying to figure out how we can deal with these cases, especially the cases that could be called cold cases where people have been killed but we don’t have the answers to what happened.”
Cele mentioned two of the cold cases, referring to the Gugulethu eight that happened last November and the bloody weekend where 13 people were killed in Khayelitsha and Philippi.
“Looking at the history of the issues here we have lost so many people, however, we have also arrested several suspects for these crimes, but not concerning what happened today.
“I have been told, that the suspects came here in two vehicles and opened fire and unfortunately people lost their lives,” Cele said.
“So the issue of what happened and the names, we will leave that to the investigators, we have also spoken to the family and they are willing to co-operate with the investigation, so we hope that soon we will get the people and the motive, but our first price is to get the people who did this.”
Cele added: “We have a few leads and maybe it’s enough to say so at the present moment.”
Gugulethu Development Forum chairperson Vincent Domingo said they needed urgent intervention: “Our streets are not safe, criminal elements have a hold over our communities. We don’t have a say because our government cannot protect us.”
A family member, who did not want to be identified, was struggling to come to terms with what happened as they were secondary witnesses to the incident having been inside the house at the time of the shooting.
“I’m not okay, I’m not and I don’t think I can ever be okay. We were at the back when it happened.
“I remember people came running in from the front, and when we asked them what was going on but they didn’t respond, we got scared when we heard people screaming and the gunshots, it was chaos so we also just ran,” they said.
“When we finally came out to the front, we just saw bodies laid out here, three of them were family and the others were my brother’s friends.
“I don’t think we will ever get over this, because every time I come outside I’m reminded of what happened here.”
Community Safety, MEC Albert Fritz, has called for a united show of action against the Gugulethu killings.
Fritz said: “We would like to condemn these killings in the strongest possible terms and would like to commend the SAPS for their quick response.
“By the time we received reports of this horrific news, SAPS had launched a 72-hour Activation Plan and detectives were already on the scene. This is exactly the kind of response that we need from SAPS; exactly the kind of reaction we need to events like this.”
Fritz added that he has called on the SAPS to do everything in their power to track down the perpetrators.
“I wish to extend my sincere condolences to family and friends of the victims. We would like to call on all law-abiding citizens to stand and work with the SAPS as they chase down the perpetrators.
“We call on all citizens with information that could assist in the investigations to please share this with SAPS. We need to work together and stand united against the perpetrators of violence in our society.”