Manenberg gang violence disrupts schools

The Manenberg Safety Forum says most learners in the area stayed away from school this week.

FILE: Those who went to school on Friday morning were sent home early. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - A gang war in Manenberg forced schools to close early on Friday, according to a community leader.

At least four people have been shot dead and 10 have been wounded in gang violence since Monday.

The Health Department has also declared Manenberg a danger zone, which means ambulances are not allow in without a police escort.

The Manenberg Safety Forum said most learners in the area have stayed away from school this week.

The forum's Roegshanda Pascoe said those who went to school on Friday morning were sent home early.

"Most parents are working so it's a concern when these shooting happen, in terms of who is going to fetch the children and who will keep them safe inside."

Pascoe said in the latest incident of gang violence in the area, a man was killed on Thursday night while an elderly woman was wounded in the stomach by a stray bullet.

She said gunfire was heard throughout the night and continued on Friday morning.

On Thursday, Manenberg residents renewed their calls for the army to be deployed to quell gang violence.

A 16-year-old boy was shot dead while on his way to school on Wednesday and 15-year-old boy was also wounded in a separate shooting.

Pascoe questioned why the army was called in to help quell xenophobic violence, but has not been an option to assist in the war on gangs.

She said the army's deployment was discussed at a public meeting on Monday when the recent gang violence first flared up.

"We want prevention, that's why we had the meeting on Monday evening when we said all the relevant departments need to work together; they can't operate separately from each other."

Pascoe said they were disappointed when a police official attending the meeting refused to share details of a safety plan.

She said residents were under the impression there was no plan to combat gang violence in Manenberg.