Manenberg on knife's edge

Manenberg residents are convinced nothing can be done about the ongoing gang violence.

Manenberg. Picture: Renee de Villiers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Western Cape Education Department says while there is marked improvement in learner attendance at gang-riddled Manenberg schools, some believe there's very little that can be done to end the ongoing violence.

Gang violence forced the closure of 14 Manenberg schools for two days last week due to safety concerns for learners and teachers.

Additional Metro police and traffic officers have now been deployed to the area.

Education department officials said pupil attendance spiked since the deployment of more security officers.

But one Silverstream High School learner believes there's very little police can do to stop the problem.

"Nothing that police can do will change anything because the gangs live around the corner from one another. If there's a shooting, the bullets must go through our school."

Manenberg police said there are 42 additional officers at the affected schools.


Manenberg residents also welcomed the increase in police visibility in the area, but believe it's an unsustainable solution to the ongoing gang problem.

Some residents said the recent police raids are too little, too late.

Police conducted an operation in the crime riddled suburb on Monday and made a few arrests.

Residents looked on while law enforcement officers made the arrests, but told Eyewitness News it instils little faith as the same criminals will be back on the streets a day later.

One resident said nobody was spared from the gang violence, even in church.

"Three weeks ago they were shooting here in front of our church. The police just stood there, doing nothing."


Residents expect Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to come up with a permanent solution to the problem.

The two are expected to go head to head in a meeting regarding the gang problems in the province on Thursday.

Zille says this week's meeting is critical.

"Police, Metro police and the province has its functions. Cooperative governance is not working. Policing is a power of the national government and until that works optimally, we cannot beat gang violence."

The premier, provincial government and the City of Cape Town have outlined a joint intervention plan in a bid to address the problem.

Areas such as Grassy Park, Lavender Hill and Bonteheuwel have also been affected by the violence which has claimed several lives.