'Gang activities destroying lives'

Gang members who perform initiations and sell drugs are destroying lives of young people.

A Mitchells Plain gang leader shows his tattoo on 26 February 2013. Picture: Giovanna Gerbi/EWN

CAPE TOWN - A Tygerberg Hospital professor says gang members who perform initiations and sell drugs are not thinking about the physical harm they are causing their victims.

Eyewitness News recently spoke to a Mitchells Plain gang leader who vehemently denied 17-year-old Anene Booysens' gang-rape and mutilation may have been an initiation ritual.

Booysen was left for dead at the beginning of February in Bredasdorp, but lived several hours after her attack.

Tygerberg Hospital paediatric chief Johan Smith says he witnesses the consequences of gang activities in babies who are born to tik addict moms.

"They don't think further. It's all about money."

Smith adds these newborns have a bad start in life as they have behavioural problems, leading to dropping out of school and exposure to the gang culture.

"It's too late once that unborn baby has been affected."

Another doctor, who wishes to remain anonymous, told Eyewitness News he is convinced Booysen may have been a victim of a gang initiation ritual.

He said mutilated corpses are not unique.

The doctor said many cases do not get media exposure as the victims do not live to detail their ordeal or identify their attackers, as Booysens did just before she died.

According to statistics, more people are becoming addicted to drugs in the Western Cape.