'We celebrate being able to get up without being killed by a bullet'

A Manenberg community leader says that gangsters in the area have robbed residents of their freedom.

FILE: Police officials are pictured in Manenberg during a raid. Picture: EWN

CAPE TOWN - A Manenberg community leader says that gangsters in the area have robbed residents of their freedom.

South Africa commemorates Freedom Day today.

But Manenberg Safety Forum's Roegshanda Pascoe says that while this day is one to be celebrated, it is bitter-sweet for many people living in the community.

"We celebrate only the fact that we are able to breathe and get up in the morning without being killed by a bullet. That in itself is freedom to us, in the context of the word 'freedom', we don't know because it was never afforded to us."

At least five people, most of them innocent bystanders, have been killed in gang crossfire over the past few weeks.

Pascoe says that people living in gang stricken communities are yet to experience true freedom.

"If Manenberg goes quiet with gang violence it rises up in Hanover Park, it rises up in Bonteheuwel and so not one of us can ever claim that we've had the freedom that we're really looking forward to by walking around around at night and feeling safe."