Residents demand resources
Following a spate of shootings, some fatal, Kensington and Factreton residents staged a picket on Sunday, calling on perpetrators to stop the violence and on government to strengthen law enforcement.
The area has been hit by gun violence in recent weeks.
A day before the picket, an unidentified man was shot and killed in Lugmag Avenue while another man was injured and treated in hospital.
A couple of days earlier, on Thursday 26 July, a family of four were shot and injured in their Factreton home.
Police confirmed that a 63-year-old man was shot in his left leg while his wife and their two children were shot in the back, chest and lower back respectively. All four were taken to hospital for treatment.
About 25 spent cartridges and two live 9mm rounds were found in the road and on the family’s property.
Kensington and Factreton residents came out in their numbers on Sunday “to take back our streets”.
The picketers formed a human chain as they slowly walked down Sunderland Street, singing religious songs and occasionally chanting “No more violence, stop this violence; Genoeg is genoeg, ons is moeg”.
Among them were community leaders, law enforcement organisations, including the community policing forum (CPF), the clergy and ordinary residents and children.
Cheslyn Steenberg of the local CPF made a strong call to national and provincial government to revamp policing resources at Kensington Police Station.
“We need more permanent resources to be allocated to Kensington and not temporary resources.
“We need to fight crime but we cannot fight crime really because there are no real resources,” said Steenberg.
He said every time there was a major issue that required policing in the area, reinforcements from other policing areas would have to be called in.
“We don’t want that,” said Steenberg.
He said the community is demanding a satellite police station and for the number of members who work shifts to be increased. “We want our units that must be in place at the station to be in place, including our detectives that must be sharpened, including our Vispol, etc.”
Steenberg said the picket is one of many “united fronts” the community will use to fight the scourge of gang violence.
Meanwhile, Reverend Joshua Abrahams of the Anglican Church in Factreton said he attended the picket in solidarity with the rest of the community.
“The pain of those who have lost loved ones is our pain, the pain of those who experience the trauma of having to duck and dive because of the bullets, our kids having to run in because (the gangsters) are busy shooting, that’s our pain as well,” he said.
Abrahams stressed that despite the violence, there is still hope for Factreton.
“We will never lose hope.”
He called for a collective effort.
Factreton resident Janap Sampson (65) said she had had enough of the violence and joined the march with her family because they want peace.
Her sentiments were shared by 16-year-old Nicholas Gertzen who, with his friend, held up a banner with the words “No more violence”.
Abrahams had a message for the gangsters: “Look at your own family and ask yourself, would you want your mother to experience the pain that the other mothers experience? The drugs that you sell, would you sell them to your kids?”