Community fed up

It was a heart-wrenching walk for several parents last Tuesday as they took to the streets to voice their concern about ongoing killings in the area.

More than 300 residents and community activists joined the protest which kicked off from Hanover Park Avenue shortly after 17:00.

The walk ended with a candlelight vigil where the crowd paid tribute to all the victims of gang violence.

Protestors held up several posters with the faces of deceased residents, mostly children, who were killed in the community over the past few years.

Speaking to People’s Post at the end of the protest, Sadia Khan, a representative from the Pinati Estate Street Patrolling Committee, explained: “This event was in memory of all our residents who were killed by the bullets of gangsters in Hanover Park. It was also to make youth aware that there are other beneficial programmes in our community, and that they don’t need to use drugs or join gangs.”

Khan said the community protest was planned after the death of another youth.

Keagan de Silver (17), killed on Wednesday 22 August, was caught in a gang shoot-out while at a shop in Athwood Road, opposite Solent Court.

De Silver, a Grade 11 learner at Mount View Secondary School, had been part of a group of peace ambassadors aiming to educate the community about the benefits of peace.

“We decided to take the candlelight vigil, in memory of these victims, to an open field known as the battlefield, just off Hanover Park Avenue. This is where most of the killings occur.

“Our protestors, who were from different courts in the area, were joined by the police and several other community activists with one aim – to raise our voices against this evil crime. We can’t handle the crime any longer.”

Crime-fighting activist and former chairperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Cluster Community Policing Forum, Hanif Loonat, led the march.

“If the community unites, we shall overcome the scourge that has taken over our streets. We cannot let a small minority control the majority who are God-fearing people,” said Loonat.

“People want to raise their children in an environment that is safe and conducive for a healthy upbringing. These cowards (gangsters) must be reminded that they will not rule over good.”

Abduragiem Orrie, Hanover Park’s former ward councillor, also attended the protest and urged parents in the community to play their part by assisting local police in the fight against gang violence.

“We cannot hold the police responsible for the death of our children. Something needs to be done. I am sure that if our parents do their bit to help the police, things will definitely start improving in the area. We are fed up and will no longer tolerate this,” added Orrie.