Coun­cil­lor wants Pa­gad in Bon­te­heuwel

#To­talShut­down leader de­nounces McKen­zie

Cape Times - - FRONT PAGE - FRANCESCA VIL­LETTE francesca.vil­

CON­TRO­VER­SIAL Peo­ple Against Gang­ster­ism and Drugs (Pa­gad) are look­ing to en­ter Bon­te­heuwel to stop gang vi­o­lence even though their in­volve­ment has not been wel­comed by all, and in­stead been marred by pol­i­tick­ing.

This af­ter Bon­te­heuwel ward coun­cil­lor An­gus McKen­zie has pledged his sup­port to the group, and has al­ready met with Pa­gad lead­er­ship.

#To­talShut­down leader Hen­ri­etta Abrahams, how­ever, slammed McKen­zie say­ing he was push­ing the DA’s elec­tion agenda and that they do not wel­come Pa­gad.

Po­lice Min­is­ter Bheki Cele re­cently said an Anti-Gang Unit and the Bam­banani pro­gramme will be in op­er­a­tion in Bon­te­heuwel, while Par­lia­ment’s Port­fo­lio Com­mit­tee on Po­lice said it will hold a spe­cial meet­ing on an anti-gang strat­egy.

Abrahams said McKen­zie be­ing skep­ti­cal of Cele’s ef­forts; politi­cis­ing crime pre­ven­tion; and now call­ing on Pa­gad was a des­per­ate at­tempt to drive a po­lit­i­cal nar­ra­tive around polic­ing and crime for the DA’s elec­tion cam­paign.

“We will not al­low politi­cians to play Rus­sian roulette with our lives. Our cause is the flavour of the month. I don’t want Pa­gad in the area,” Abrahams said.

Pa­gad re­cently hosted a meet­ing with some res­i­dents to dis­cuss bring­ing an end to gang vi­o­lence, leader Ha­roon Or­rie said.

This came weeks af­ter Mcken­zie and Mayco mem­ber for safety JP Smith were chased out of a meet­ing ar­ranged by Bon­te­heuwel res­i­dents and Cele fol­low­ing a #To­talShut­down protest, dur­ing which res­i­dents from a num­ber of sub­urbs on the Cape Flats took to the streets in protest against gang­ster­ism, crime and the po­lice’s in­ef­fi­ciency.

Res­i­dents of Bel­lville, Bishop Lavis, Kens­ing­ton and Ot­tery said they were also protest­ing is­sues in­clud­ing poverty, un­prece­dented lev­els of unem­ploy­ment, vi­o­lence and liv­ing in over­crowded com­mu­ni­ties due to lack of hous­ing.

Or­rie said they are en­gag­ing with var­i­ous or­gan­i­sa­tions in Bon­te­heuwel, and hoped to unite peo­ple.

Vi­o­lence in com­mu­ni­ties could be “stopped with im­me­di­ate ef­fect”, Or­rie said, but res­i­dents were split on the is­sue.

“Coun­cil­lor McKen­zie has given us his sup­port and he wel­comes Pa­gad to be part of the process,” Or­rie said.

McKen­zie said should any marches or demon­stra­tions go ahead un­der Pa­gad’s ban­ner, it will be done in “ac­cor­dance with the law”.

McKen­zie also said he was asked by some res­i­dents to meet with Pa­gad. “I wel­come any or­gan­i­sa­tion will­ing to work to stop gang-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties.”


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