'Unacceptable': 39 children killed in Western Cape since January - MEC

‘Unacceptable’: 39 children killed in Western Cape since January – MEC

MEC Reign Allen speaks at the 2023 Western Cape State Of The Province Address (SOPA) debate and response at the Western Cape Provincial Parliament House in Cape Town.

MEC Reign Allen speaks at the 2023 Western Cape State Of The Province Address (SOPA) debate and response at the Western Cape Provincial Parliament House in Cape Town.

Ziad Douglas / Gallo Images

  • At least 39 children have already died violently in the Western Cape this year.
  • Tiano Anthony is the latest child to die after being shot in the head while a gangster was cleaning his firearm in Mannenberg.
  • A 34-year-old man has since been arrested.

At least 39 children have been killed in the Western Cape since January.

This is according to quarterly crime statistics revealed by the Department of Police Oversight and Community Safety, Regine Allen.

Allen said 19 children were killed during the same period in 2022.

“Any child being killed makes me deeply concerned,” Allen said. “It is unacceptable and must stop. There is no way we can in any way justify the killing of children.”

According to the Ministry of Information, crime statistics revealed that 382 murders recorded this year were committed using a firearm.

Read | A boy, 9, has died in a Cape Town hospital after allegedly being shot in the head while the suspect was cleaning a gun.

Last week, News24 reported that a 9-year-old boy from Mannenberg was shot in the head after a friend of the family, a known gangster affiliated with the Hard Livings gang, fired a shot while cleaning his gun outside the child’s home.

Little Tiano Anthony was taken to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, but he succumbed to his injuries the next day.

Tiano’s mother, Berenice Anthony, 40, said she got a call from the hospital telling her she needed to get there urgently as a decision had to be made on the life support machine keeping him alive.

Sad Bernice said:

His injuries were severe and he was in great pain.

According to the boy’s aunt, Michelle Malgas, the family did not want the device to be turned off, but were told by medical staff that there was nothing they could do to save his life.

Western Cape Police spokesman Captain FC Van Wyck said a 34-year-old man had since been arrested for the boy’s murder.

The recent infanticide has raised concerns about gang members openly handling their guns.

Gun Free SA Director Adele Kirsten told News24 that the legislation is clear that when one obtains a certificate of competency to own a gun, they must determine that they qualify to own a firearm.

“Part of the key to competency is whether one understands the legislation on owning a gun, your duty and responsibility to safely store a firearm and under what circumstances you can fire your firearm,” Kirsten said.

She added that the safe storage of any gun is vital.

“It should be in [gun] The key to the safe should only be with the person who owns the gun.”

She added that cleaning the gun in a public place with the ammunition in the barrel is sheer negligence.

Kirsten said:

He is reckless and a possible crime under the law.

She said it was unfortunate that in parts of the Cape Flats “children are always in danger” because these areas are usually riddled with crime and gangs.

“Whether children were specifically targeted still needs to be proven because there is not enough evidence to suggest that,” Kirsten said.

Criminologist Jay Lamb said that areas of the Cape Flats usually find gangs competing for land and drugs, leading to one gang shooting the other. And in most cases, children fall into the crossfire.

“Looking at the areas where this happens [houses] very small. Many children play in the streets because they do not have parks. [When] Gang members shoot indiscriminately and violently, and children are often caught in the crossfire.”

There have also been cases where gangs have specifically targeted children because they want to harm a competitor’s family member, Lamb said.

“Often these children are affiliated with other gang members and want to hurt the gang members emotionally by targeting their children,” said Lamb.

Battlefield or 7 as it is known in Manenber

Battlefield 7 or 7 as it is known in Mannenberg where gang shootings with machine guns took place in Cape Town.

Margarete Holtzhausen of the Trauma Center for Survivors of Violence and Torture said the government was failing communities in its fight against gangs.

“As long as gang members feel confident to continue their activities without consequences, children will not be safe on the street. Shootings have become normal, and children often head towards gang fights to witness what is happening, which makes them even more vulnerable.”

Echoing Lamb’s sentiments, Holtzhausen said it was “usual” for children to play in the street in low socioeconomic areas due to a lack of alternatives.

The houses are packed and there are not many programs to attend.

Working with children from gang-ridden areas such as Mannenberg, Pontehuil, Delft and Kraifontein, she said, exposing children to gang violence, of which gun violence is one form, was deeply troubling.

“Gang activity is also linked to the sale of drugs, which is a clear driver of domestic violence among our cases. We’ve also heard that children as young as 6 are actively involved in gangs and sometimes rob people at gunpoint,” said Holtzhausen. .

Her concern as trauma counselors, she said, is that the research is very clear that children exposed to violence without counseling and interventions are more likely to grow into adults who will perpetuate the cycle of violence.

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