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Rival Manenberg gangs agree to peace

Leaders of the Hard Livings & the American gangs attended a peace meeting in the area.

Manenberg has been plagued by gang violence in recent weeks. Picture: Renee de Villiers/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Proudly Manenberg non-governmental organisation says gangs in the area have extended the olive branch following weeks of deadly violence.

On Thursday night, leaders of the Hard Livings and the American gangs attended a peace meeting, where they apologised to the community.

Manenberg has been hard hit by gang violence in recent weeks with several residents calling for the army to be brought in. Last week, the provincial education department decided to close all schools in the area for two days amid fears for the safety of pupils and staff.

But Proudly Manenberg's Mario Wanza says peace has been restored to the area.

"We held a meeting with the rival gangs and unpacked the causes of the violence. We spoke about how we can normalise the situation but more importantly how we can join hands and build a new Manenberg."

Schools were reopened on Monday after a decision announced at the weekend to divert R6 million from the Western Cape Education Department's budget to the City of Cape Town for efforts to curb gang-related violence.

GANG TALKS

Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says a committee, which includes the police, has been established to address the city's ongoing gang issues.

The much anticipated meeting between Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa over the province's gang problems took place on Thursday.

De Lille says the city and police will be working much closer together in the future.

"We are now going to include the South African Police Service (SAPS) in the area action committees so that we can work from a grassroots level together with the community."

Mthethwa added gangsterism needs to be dealt with by all spheres of government.

"Our approach cannot be instant. It has to be planned and it has to be sustainable so that at the end of the day an indelible mark is made."

The national government and Western Cape leaders have often locked horns on how to curb gang violence, but Zille told the media the two sides have agreed to work together.