Initiations into gangs and the release of gang members from prison may be causing a surge of shootings in Cape Town, it was reported on Tuesday.
The Cape Times reported that at least nine men had been killed in apparent gang-related shootings around the city in about two months.
Manenberg Community Police Forum spokesman Kader Jacobs said that in the past six to eight weeks, roughly five shootings had been reported in his area.
He said one of the reasons for this could be that “high-flyer gangsters” had been released from prison, had returned to their power base, and needed to “stamp their authority”.
He reportedly said another factor could be the gang initiation process, in which a person had to kill someone to get into a gang.
In the latest attack, Rashied Fortune, 20, was killed in Manenberg in a drive-by shooting on Saturday.
Gangsterism is particularly high on the Cape Flats where Coloureds live and it does not involve the organised crime syndicates of the Godfather with Armani-suited men saying “kapeesh” but more a volatile mess of street-gangs, hungry for blood and the next ego trip. Status and fear is the driving force behind these gangs, where moving up the ranks involves killing a rival gang member or even your own mother. It’s brutal.
Sometimes gang members rule whole neighbourhoods and residents are put on ‘lockdown’ by police, due to gang members whipping out their guns and going trigger-happy in broad daylight.
But is there really a solution to this mess? Police and local government have tried in vain to clamp down on gangsterism, but it goes hand-in-hand with poverty and drugs so where does one even begin to find an end? As always it is a vicious cycle with the youth on the Cape Flats seeing nothing but glamourised gangsterism. To these kids joining a gang is an admirable and predestined thing for them to do. With a lack of role models due to mostly absent fathers, children growing up on the streets of the ‘ghetto’ are impressionable and often misguided. Many of them claim to see gangs as a sort of family structure that they’ve never had. It has become a culture, a way of life with its own lingo ‘logo’s and hand signals. One could argue that joining a gang is a means of survival for these men. But even thinking of it that way makes it all seem more hopeless. – Sapa and other sources