Cape Town – Police are failing to stop the daily bloodshed in Manenberg because of racism, according to Manenberg community policing forum chairperson, Kader Jacobs.
Jacobs said that coloured on black racism and a breakdown in communication is why frustrated residents turn on police and even attack them.
Jacobs said the language barrier makes it difficult for people in the predominantly coloured community to communicate with police.
“People already have built up anger and hatred from the apartheid era,” he said.
“At Manenberg Police Station, 95 percent of the members who operate in the area are black people.
“This presents a major language problem which the CPF has already addressed with [former] police commissioner Arno Lamoer.
“Many of our people speak Afrikaans and use a lot of slang and the policeman speaks Xhosa and English.
“People are unhappy because of the breakdown in communication and this is causing havoc in the area.
Manenberg has been rocked by gang violence between the Hard Livings and Americans, with three people shot dead since the weekend.
On Saturday, Shameema Adams, 35, was on her way to a tuck shop when she was shot in Scheldt Walk.
Hours later, 33-year-old Faizel Jacobs was gunned down at a friend’s home in Renoster Walk.
On Monday night, Sharon Saban, 50, was also on her way to a tuck shop with her daughter when she was shot twice in Renoster Road.
Earlier in the day, seven-year-old Jade Jegels took a bullet to the leg while on her way to shop.
In the latest incident, a 42-year-old former gangster was shot while working on his home.
Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andre Traut said the man was wounded.
“At 7pm a man was shot and wounded at Noelle Court, Manenberg Avenue,” Traut said. “The circumstances are being investigated.”
Police have not yet made any arrests since the weekend shootings.
While the community is desperate to end the violence, police have come under attack by the very same residents, simply because the majority of officers are black.
Jacobs said another reason residents turn on police is because gang leaders are taking advantage of the lack of social services in the area and have become providers to the poor.
“We have lots of socio-economic problems in the area with high poverty and unemployment rate,” Jacobs said.
“The gangs are smart, they will pay an aunty’s rent and give them food so when police come to arrest that same gangster, people see it as police taking away their source of income and they feel threatened by this,” he said.
Jacobs said seven people have been killed in gang violence since the beginning of the year.
“Only two of those people were gangsters and the rest were all innocent victims,” he said.