'Community knows police are useless'

Pagad says police are failing miserably at curbing gang violence in the Cape.

Pupils from St George Primary in Lavender Hill are sent home because of gang violence. Picture: Aletta Gardner/EWN

CAPE TOWN - People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad) at the weekend said authorities are failing miserably in efforts to curb gangsterism in the Western Cape.

It's been a bloody few weeks in some of the province's most gang riddled communities with dozens of innocent bystanders being killed.

Pagad's Cassiem Parker said poor policing is only compounding the problem.

"Gang violence, for whatever reason, is completely unacceptable. We always believed that's why we have police. But the community knows the police are useless at the moment in seeing to gang violence."

Parker said the organisation applied to march in Manenberg a few months ago, but police refused saying they could not guarantee the safety of the public or those taking part.

"Our response to them at the City of Cape Town was, they cannot guarantee the safety of the citizens anyway so why are re they using that as a basis for rejecting a constitutionally legal march?".

Parker said Pagad held a motorcade through some Athlone and Rondebosch communities last week to single out alleged drug dealers in the area.

He said the suspects were given verbal warnings to stop their illegal activities.

Parker said there was a heavy police presence during their cavalcade.

"The number of police that were there was actually quite shocking. They should be patrolling the gang-infested areas rather than keeping an eye on Pagad because it's certain police are not doing something to stop the gang violence."

It's been reported the group will continue their efforts throughout the month of Ramadan after a series of calls from parents worried about their children's safety.