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Marikana informal settlement residents live in fear following shootings

A contingent of specialised police officers has been deployed, but residents say this reactionary move leaves them with little sense of security.

Residents in the Marikana informal settlement warned they would take the law into their own hands after 11 people were killed in two separate shootings in the area on Friday 29 September 2017. Picture: Monique Mortlock/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Marikana Informal Settlement residents say they live in despair as violent crime is thriving.

The Philippi community is still coming to terms with the murders of 11 men ambushed by gunmen over the weekend.

A contingent of specialised police officers has been deployed, but residents say this reactionary move leaves them with little sense of security.

Dozens of police officers move in and out of the Philippi East Police Station.

They form part of a team ordered to track down the killers and ensure a decrease in violent crime.

But residents explain the uncertainty of the situation leaves them on edge.

“Everybody is panicking and everybody is fearing for their safety. I make sure at 6 pm I’m in my house and I lock my doors because those boys are dangerous. Residents are not just scared, they are waiting for their day to come.”

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula is scheduled to meet with residents and community leaders today.

RELATIVES WANT JUSTICE

Family members of Philippi mass shooting victims are demanding police arrest those responsible for their deaths.

Police arrested four suspects in the early hours of Monday morning in possession of a firearm and rounds of ammunition.

Nikelwa Xalabile said her 20-year-old brother’s death is a reminder of how brazen criminals in the community are.

She said he suffered a fatal gunshot wound to his head, while her 28-year-old brother, who was also shot, is still in a critical condition in the Groote Schuur hospital

“The tsotsis they don’t come at 10 o’clock late, 12 o’clock. Everything that they do here, they do it early. At five o’clock, six o’clock everything; every crime that happens here it doesn’t happen during the night.”

Abongile Jokazi planned to pay lobola this week, now he’s coming to terms with his younger brother's death.

“I don’t want to even see those monsters, really, really. I can’t hold myself when I see them.”

SAPS officials say weapons confiscated from the suspects will be sent for ballistic testing to determine if it was used in Friday's mass shooting.

MEC PLATO VISITS

Meanwhile, Philippi East residents blame the absence of youth programs for escalating crime in the community.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato was for a second day visiting the community following shootings.

Plato visited the area on Monday afternoon to see families who may need to be assisted with funeral arrangements.

Residents say they have in the past highlighted issues with regard to police inefficiency.

Following this weekend's shootings, residents are even more fearful.

“The situation is tense here, the community is in a panic mode because nobody knows what’s going to happen next.

“Now we need the intervention of the police, Mbalula himself he must come and intervene in this matter.”

Plato said he met with some residents this morning and many are crying out for initiatives to keep young people occupied.

“The youngsters, according to them (community), are running amok in this community and they’ve asked the government to step in, to come in with projects, to come in with programmes to assist the youth.”

A heightened police presence is visible in the community.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)