'Please help us': Cape community mourns 5-year-old killed by stray bullet

The five-year-old died last weekend when a stray bullet hit him as he played in his yard.

 Valentino Grootetjie, aged 5, was killed by a stray bullet at his Lavender Hill home. Picture:  Lucinda Evans/facebook.com

CAPE TOWN - Lavender Hill residents in Cape Town have taken aim at government officials, saying they only take an interest in their area in the wake of tragic events.

The community laid to rest one of its youngest members, Valentino Grootetjie, on Saturday.

The five-year-old died last weekend when a stray bullet hit him as he played in his yard.

His funeral saw the city’s mayor and the national police minister in attendance. But some locals were not impressed by their presence.

Police patrolled the streets outside Levana Primary School while the funeral took place.

Lavender Hill residents attending Grootetjie’s funeral said they had lost all hope with the state of rampant gun violence in the neighbourhood.

An emotional resident said: “The police must do something. Our children can’t die like this. Please do something. We need your help desperately.”

A woman who was at the crime scene said she was heartbroken.

“I am a resident and I was there when the boy laid there. It was very sad. That could have been my child.”

Police Minister Bheki Cele and Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato both urged residents to report criminal activity even if they are related to the perpetrators.

Plato added his voice to calls for more support from the community in the fight against crime.

“The shocking issue for me is the families of the killers. They didn’t report them to the police to admit that their family members were involved.”

However, residents told Eyewitness News that more needs to be done to achieve a significant reduction in crime.

“All year, they should have been here, but now they’re here after the shooting.”

Another resident added: “We try to stand together, but we can’t do this without police and government.”

In a separate incident earlier this month, 10-year-old Ayesha Kelly died after being caught in the crossfire of gun violence. At the same time, a 16-year-old boy was injured during the shooting in the same area.

Two months ago, a 13-year-old girl was also shot and wounded in Hanover Park amid gang violence.

In another incident three months ago, a 12-year-old boy was killed in gang violence. He was one of three children killed in a shooting in Clarkes Estate, in Elsies River. An 18-year-old man also died following the shooting in the Cape Town community.

WATCH: Elsies River reeling after 4 killed in alleged gang hit

Additional reporting by Lauren Isaacs & Lizell Persens.